Monday, November 3, 2008

Want political power? Move to Wyoming

One person gets one vote in the United States. But the Electoral College ensures that some of those votes are a lot more valuable than others. As Sarah K. Cowan points out in The New York Times, individual voters in states like Michigan and California have far less influence than voters in sparsely populated backwaters like Wyoming, North Dakota and Alaska.

When you study it closely, the way we elect presidents could lead to some bizarre results:

"This system, along with the winner-take-all practice used to allocate most states’ electoral votes, creates the potential for an absurd outcome. In the unlikely event that all 213 million eligible voters cast ballots, either John McCain or Barack Obama could win enough states to capture the White House with only 47.8 million strategically located votes. The presidency could be won with just 22 percent of the electorate’s support, only 16 percent of the entire population’s."

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