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My Vote Counts More Than Yours

In presidential elections, not all votes are equal. Wait. What? But, this is a democracy — one person, one vote, right? No.

Two hundred years ago, the founders designed a presidential voting system that gave rural farmers and ranchers in states with low population more voting power than people in urban areas. Among other things, the Electoral College was designed to try to avoid a tyranny of densely populated urban areas over other, less populous, areas of the country. It worked okay through the 1800s and most of the 1900s. But, the founders never imagined an organized, scientific effort to take advantage of the voting power imbalance in order to seize power.

So, exactly what are the numbers? The power of a voter in Wyoming is almost four times that of a person living in Texas. Whether this is fair and appropriate is for you to decide. See below for how much your vote counts.

Presidential Voting Power in Each State

 

5 Comments

  1. Susan Anthony

    Given the historical fact that 95% of the U.S. population in 1790 lived in places of less than 2,500 people, and only a few states let males, with substantial property, vote, it is unlikely that the Founding Fathers were concerned about presidential candidates being elected only by voters in big cities.

  2. Susan Anthony

    The National Popular Vote bill is 73% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

    It requires enacting states with 270 electoral votes to award their electoral votes to the winner of the most national popular votes.

    All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.

    • Phil

      I have my fingers crossed. The Electoral College is an antiquated solution to problems that don’t exist anymore, like communication. Horseback is no longer the fastest form of communication. Lol.

  3. Holly

    I have mixed feelings about this, and I live in Texas (so if anyone should want to get rid of the Electoral College, it’s us, eh?)

    The US is a federation of states – and I don’t see why a population dense state with fewer resources should necessarily have a greater share of voice than a less population dense state having more resources (you want to take advantage, MOVE there). But like I said, I have mixed feelings. We need to fix things like gerrymandering and we need to educate voters better on the importance of participating in politics, particularly at the local and state level. We have this thing over the Electoral College EVERY election year for as long as I can remember. We talk a good fight about campaign finance reform. We complain about the issue of only rich and well-connected candidates being able to afford to run, let alone afford to buy an office. But what changes? Not a whole lot.

    • Phil

      I agree with all that you said. Gerrymandering should have been outlawed 200 years ago. It’s an obscene form of cheating that we still allow as though it were okay. “It’s the way we’ve always done it.” (Which is never a valid justification.) Congress won’t change it because it’s not in their self-interest.

      While I understand the Founders’ reasoning in setting up the Electoral College, the idea has failed and is obsolete.

      1.) Horseback is no longer the fastest form of communication on Earth, as it was then. The EC was intended to help solve this problem. The problem no longer exists, nor could the Founders even imagine instant communication over 5 miles, much less the entire nation.

      2.) The Founders never foresaw how extremely urbanized we’d become. Industrialized farming was unimaginable, where very few farmers feed the nation.

      3.) One function of the EC was to provide another check and balance. The EC is supposed to be composed of wiser and experienced people. (Today it is nothing of the sort. The EC is populated by people chosen for reasons of political favoritism.) The EC has the ability to override the voters if they feel the general public is making a stupid mistake, as they did in the 2016 election. They saw it, they knew it, they didn’t act. They failed in that function as well.

      4.) The imbalance and unfairness of the EC was understandable and intentional in 1785. It was a good idea back then. The USA was empty (of white people), hoping for settlers to found states and somehow survive alongside the rich established states like New York and Maryland. Not only is the imbalance obsolete, but given today’s technology, computers, statistical analysis, and big data gathering, this imbalance can be exploited. And, that’s exactly what happened in the 2016 election that resulted in Donald Trump becoming president.

      I spent six months living in Montana in 2018. The right-wing propaganda there is overwhelming and continuous on every media outlet there. Why? Because you should focus your resources on the high value voters: Montana, Wyoming, West Virginia, etc.

      Back in the early 1980s, when I was founding companies, I enrolled myself in seminars and trainings given by the most high-powered experts in the fields of marketing and negotiation skills. They cost a small fortune and were worth it. One snippet of that which applies here goes like this:

      Let’s say you want to found a new religion or proselytize for an existing religion. Do you simply go out and talk to everyone? Do you spend time and effort on every single person? Only if you’re an idiot. At least half the people out there cannot be swayed no matter how much effort you put forth. Your limiting resource here is your time. So, the first thing you do is analyze your population and eliminate as many of the unconvincibles as you can. Then you winnow and winnow some more, to identify your best targets — those who can be convinced — and put your effort there. If you are proselytizing and sense that a person or group is not moving off their current position, drop them instantly and move on. This is the same principle that was applied for the 2016 election.

      If we eliminate the inherent imbalances of the Electoral College then we eliminate this weakness in our system that can be exploited.

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