The electoral college was important when the country first started, but now there is instant communication and an educated population, so the EC is no longer necessary. The popular vote definitely needs to be the new normal for presidential elections. The Clinton/Trump election shows that there is a massive discrepancy between the population and electoral college.
It is far past time to get rid of the electoral college. The people have spoken, and have chosen their president, with a difference of nearly 3 million votes. It couldn't be any more clear, and we need to make moves to make the electoral college obsolete to avoid another mess like the one we're currently in happening again in the future.
The Electoral College system allows for better representation throughout the entire country than would the popular vote in a presidential election. The current 2016 election demonstrates this quite well. Hillary Clinton's nearly 3 million popular vote advantage is easily achieved through California's votes alone. It's not democratic to allow one or two heavily populated states to decide who will rule the entire country.
It is true that criminals who create heinous crimes continue to be a monetary burden to the system. However, there is always the moral question regarding the death penalty. There are those who would not want to have this decision, to take another person's life, on their conscience. There are also those situations when a criminal is found innocent many years later.