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The Trouble with the Electoral College

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In a fair democracy everyone's vote should count equally, but the method that the United
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States uses to elect its president, called the electoral college, violates this principle
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by making sure that some people's votes are more equal than others.
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The Electoral College is, essentially, the 538 votes that determine who wins the presidency.
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If these votes were split evenly across the population every 574,000 people would be represented
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by one vote.
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But that's not what happens because the Electoral College doesn't give votes to people, only
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states. Which has some unfair consequences.
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For example there are 11,500,000 people in Ohio so, to fairly represent them, it should
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get 20 electoral votes. But the Electoral college doesn't give Ohio 20 votes, it only
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gets 18 -- two less than it should.
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Where'd those other votes go? To states like Rhode Island.
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Plucky Rhode Island has 1.1 million people in it, so it should have about two votes,
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but instead it gets four!
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Those extra two votes that should be representing Ohioans go to representing Rhode Islanders
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instead? Why?
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Because, according to the rules of the electoral college, every state, no matter how few people
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live there, gets three votes to start with before the rest are distributed according
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to population.
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Because of this rule there are a lot of states with a few people that should only have one
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or two votes for president but instead get three or four.
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So Georgians, Virginians, Michiganders & Jerseyites are each missing one vote,
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Pennsylvanians, North Carolinians, Ohioans & Hoosiers are missing two, Floridians are
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missing 4, New Yorkers, 5, Texans 6, and Californians are 10 short of what they should get.
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Because of this vote redistribution, the Electoral College essentially pretends that fewer people
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live where they do and more people live where they don't.
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An American who lives in one of these states, has their vote for president count for less
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than an American who lives in one of these states.
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In some cases the Electoral College bends the results just a little, but if you live
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in a particularly large or small state, it bends them a lot.
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One Vermonter's vote, according to the Electoral College is worth three Texans' votes. And
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one Wyomingite's vote is worth four Californians'.
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Now, hold on there son, you might be saying to yourself right now: you're missing the
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whole point of the electoral college. It's to protect the small states from the big states.
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Give the small states more voting power and the presidential candidates will have to pay
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them more attention in an election.
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If that's the goal of the electoral college, it's failing spectacularly.
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Here's a graph showing the number of visits the presidential Candidates paid to each of
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the states in the last two months of the previous election.
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If it looks like there are a few states missing, you're right. Only 18 of the 50 states received
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even a single visit from a candidate. And just two of those states, Mane and New Hampshire
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have very small populations.
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The area of the country with the most small states is conspicuously missing.
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The Electoral College doesn't make candidates care about small states.
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But, interestingly the biggest states, California, Texas and New York are missing as well so
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what's going on?
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Looking closer, just four states, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia received a majority
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of the candidates' attention during the election.
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And if you follow the money, it's the same story.
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Why do candidates spend so much money and time in so few states? Because the way the
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