The Electoral College consists of 538 popularly elected representatives who formally select the President and Vice President of the United States. In 2008, it will make this selection on December 15.
Rather than directly voting for the President and Vice President, United States citizens cast votes for electors. Electors are technically free to vote for anyone eligible to be President, but in practice pledge to vote for specific candidates and voters cast ballots for favored presidential and vice presidential candidates by voting for correspondingly pledged electors.
Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of its Senators and Representatives in the United States Congress. Additionally, Washington, D.C. is given a number of electors equal to the number held by the “least populous” state. U.S. territories are not represented in the Electoral College.
US Electoral College Map [via Wikipedia]
Electing a US President in Plain English [via Vimeo]
Electoral College from Schoolhouse Rock [via YouTube]
Live 2008 Election Results [via Google]