I find it amazing that learned historians say things like this (from the intro to the Finkelman article that Zander cites):
The system seems to be unique in the United States—
applying only to the presidential election—and unique to the
United States. I know of no western or industrialized democracy
that uses such a system.
I live in a Parliamentary Democracy (UK) which is not dissimilar to most Parliamentary Democracies in the world. I have an election coming up on the 8th of June in which either Theresa May will remain as Prime Minister (i.e. head of the Executive branch of government) or she will be replaced by Jeremy Corbin (Labour) or Tim Farron (LibDems), Paul Nuttall (UKIP), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), etc. Does my vote elect May or one of the others?
No, of course not. Should I desire for Theresa May to continue as PM my best course of action would be to vote to re-elect Jane Ellison, Conservative MP for the constituency of Wandsworth Central (in Southwest London). If elected, the Right Honourable Jane Ellison would likely (but not be required to) vote for Ms May to continue as PM, provided, of course, that Ms May wins re-election in her constituency of Maidenhead. Maidenhead's electorate of 74,000 are the only people in Britain that would be directly voting for their Prime Minister.
Should the Conservative Party win a majority of the 650 seats in the House of Commons those MPs elected can make Theresa May PM. If they fall short of an outright majority (as David Cameron did in 2010), they can form a Coalition government with whichever party agrees to support their choice of PM in exchange for the Conservatives supporting whatever part of that party's platform they can stomach. A 'Grand Coalition' with the country's two biggest political parties is even possible as was the case in 2013 in Germany (so in that case if I were a left-leaning member of the SPD I would have had to accept my elected member of Parliament deciding to elect the centre-right CDU's leader Angela Merkel as my PM). It also would have been possible (and was thought almost likely at the time in the days after Britain's 2010 general election) that the 2nd and 3rd place parties (Labour and the Liberal Democrats) might form a 'Lib-Lab' Coalition and elect a Labour PM, despite the Conservatives winning the most votes and
the most seats.
One of the stated reasons that Theresa May, in fact, has called for a snap election this June is to increase her mandate to negotiate Brexit. Why does she feel the need to get a public mandate? Because she came to power last July as the result of a 'party leadership contest' within the Conservative Party. In the first vote of the contest she received the support of 165 of her party's MPs (to 66 and 48 votes for her next biggest rivals Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove respectively) and two days later increased her support to 199 MPs (i.e. 30.6% of all MPs in the Commons) to 84 and 46 for Leadsam and Gove. After that 2nd vote Gove was eliminated and Leadsam announced she was withdrawing so May became my country's leader. On the back of 199 votes.
So it may be true that 'no western or industrialized democracy ... uses such a system [as the Electoral College]' as Prof. Finkelman states, it is equally true that very few democracies elect their leaders directly.