Here, Nathan Sproul explains that the electoral college is a form of indirect election of certain officials to represent the people's political stances.
Each of the 50 states in the US (plus the District of Columbia) receives a number of electoral votes based on population, equal to its representation in congress. Therefore, the larger the state’s population, the larger the number of electoral votes they get. California, for example, casts 55 electoral votes every election, while Alaska casts only three. To be named President, a candidate must receive at least 270 of the 538 possible electoral votes–the total number of which is comprised of the number of members of the House of Representatives (435) and the total number of members of the Senate (100), plus three representatives from the District of Columbia.
To read Nathan's full blog on the electoral college, visit http://nathansproul.com/the-electoral-college-explained/