The electoral college has always had strong opponents who have argued that it should be abolished. Their reasons include the fact that, under certain circumstances, a president can be elected without winning the majority of electoral votes. They also point out that electors are free to vote however they wish and claim that the electoral college makes it impossible for third-party and independent candidates to be elected.
The U.S. Constitution requires that a candidate receive more than 50 percent of the electoral vote in order to be elected president. In cases where three candidates are in a close race, it is possible that the vote could split in such a way that no candidate achieves the required majority of the electoral votes. In this case, either one of the candidates gives her electoral votes to another candidate so a majority can be achieved, or the U.S. House of Representatives elects the president.
Opponents of the electoral college also argue that electors are free to ignore the popular will and vote for a different candidate than the one chosen by the people she represents. In addition, some detractors maintain that the electoral college is unfair because the candidate who wins the majority of a state's electoral votes is awarded all of its votes, with none being given to other candidates. They claim that this system makes it impossible for independent and third-party candidates to compete in the electoral college.