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Electoral College: How Much Is Your Vote Worth?

Nov 5th, 2012

Slate has a great map showing this disparity in vote value by state as a result of the Electoral College. In Wyoming, your vote has the highest value with just 142,741 people per electoral vote. Your vote counts the least in New York where there 519,075 people per electoral vote.

The average electoral vote represents 436,000 people, but that number rises and falls per state depending on that state’s population over 18 years of age. (The map above shows the population 18 years and older per electoral vote by state.) The states with the fewest people per electoral vote, and therefore the highest “vote power,” are Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota. In Wyoming, there are 143,000 people for each of its three electoral votes. The states with the weakest votes are New York, Florida, and California. These states each have around 500,000 people for each electoral vote.
In other words, one Wyoming voter has roughly the same vote power as four New York voters.

More on the Electoral College from Wikipedia: The Electoral College is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. The electors are chosen by each state of the United States and by the District of Columbia, but not by other territorial possessions of the United States (such as Puerto Rico). The number of electors is 538, based on the total voting membership of the United States Congress (435 Representatives and 100 Senators) and three electors from the District of Columbia.[1] Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution specifies the number of electors to which each state is entitled and state legislatures decide how they are chosen.
Voters in each state and the District of Columbia cast ballots selecting electors pledged to presidential and vice presidential candidates. In nearly all states, electors are awarded on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate who wins the most votes in that state. Although no elector is required by federal law to honor a pledge, in the overwhelming majority of cases each elector votes as pledged.[2][3] The Twelfth Amendment provides for each elector to cast one vote for President and one vote for Vice President. It also specifies how a President and Vice President are elected. The Twenty-third Amendment specifies how many electors the District of Columbia is entitled to have.
Critics argue that the Electoral College is inherently undemocratic and gives swing states disproportionate influence in electing the President and Vice President. Proponents argue that the Electoral College is an important, distinguishing feature of federalism in the United States and that it protects the rights of smaller states. Numerous constitutional amendments have been introduced in the Congress seeking to alter the Electoral College or replace it with a direct popular vote.

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