Some people say that in 1888 the Electoral College did what it was
designed to do - prevent one region of the country from dominating a presidential election. In that year Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but still lost to Benjamin Harrison who had broad support beyond Cleveland's stronghold in the South. So despite losing the popular vote, Harrison went on to become the nation's 23rd president by a margin of 65 electoral votes.
Other people say the Electoral College is one of those things that work
best if we don't think about it too much.
The idea began when some delegates to the Constitutional Convention argued that choosing the President of the United States was too important to be submitted to the vagaries of a popular vote. Others felt that the decision was too important to be left to Congress. Delegate James Wilson offered as a compromise what we now know as the Electoral College system and the result is embodied in Article II of the Constitution.
Currently each state has a number of electors equal to the number of
its U.S. Senators, two from each state, plus the number of its U.S. Representatives, which is based on its population. Washington, D.C. was given three electoral votes upon adoption of the 23rd Amendment in 1961.
In the 2004 presidential election there will be 538 electors with 270
electoral votes required to win the presidency. Kentucky has eight of those electoral votes. Here is a little bit of Kentucky Electoral College voting history, by the numbers:
212 - years since Kentucky cast its electoral votes the first time, four
electoral votes in favor of George Washington's second term of office. (1792)
64 - percentage of presidential elections in which Kentucky has cast its
electoral votes for the winning candidate.
53 - number of presidential elections in which Kentucky has cast electoral votes.
44 - years since Kentucky cast it's electoral votes for a losing candidate. Kentucky weighed in on the side of Richard Nixon in his loss to the nation's 35th president, John F. Kennedy. (1960)
34 - elections in which Kentucky cast it's electoral votes for the winning candidate.
19 - elections that saw Kentucky's electoral votes go to a losing candidate.
15 - highest number of electoral votes ever allotted to Kentucky. (1832)
10 - consecutive elections in which Kentucky cast its electoral votes for the winning candidate. Kentucky has sided with the winner each time since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
4 - lowest number of electoral votes ever alloted to Kentucky. (1792)
3 for 3 - number of times Richard Nixon won Kentucky's electoral votes.
0 for 3 - number of times Kentucky cast its electoral votes for Abraham
2 - the number of presidential candidates Kentucky cast electoral votes for in the election of 1827. In that election eight votes from Western Kentucky electors went to Thomas Hendricks. Electors from Eastern Kentucky cast four votes for B. Gratz Brown. Ulysses S. Grant won the election anyway, in a field of five surviving candidates. (A sixth candidate, Horace Greely, died before the Electoral College convened.)
1 - the number of times Kentucky failed to cast all of it's electoral
votes. Kentucky cast only seven of its alloted eight in the election of 1808. James Madison won handily in spite of the abstention.