How to fix the Electoral College

One of the most undemocratic features of the U.S. presidential elections is the Electoral College.

Americans vote not for candidates, but for electors.  The split in the electoral vote is often very different from the popular vote.  In 2000 and 2016, the winner of the popular vote lost in the Electoral College.

Each state chooses a number of electors equal to the number of its senators and representatives.  Representatives are apportioned according to population, but each state gets two senators.  A lot of small states with only one representative still have two senators, which means small states are over-represented.

A Constitutional amendment to fix the Electoral College is unlikely because it would require the votes of small states that benefit from the present setup.  So is a proposed interstate compact, in which states agree to cast their electoral votes for whoever won the popular vote.

But there is an alternate plan that would go a long way toward fixing the disparities in the electoral vote.

We can repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, which fixed the number of Representatives at 435, and then institute the Wyoming Rule (the smallest state population – Wyoming – gets one representative and all other states get a number of representatives equal to the number of “Wyomings” that their population contains).

The total number of reps in the US House increases from 435 to 573, which also affects the Electoral College. Wyoming still stays at one rep while the California delegation increase from 53 to 68. Blue states in general do much better.

By matching the number of reps to actual population a lot of the unfairness of the Electoral College is mitigated. The number of EC votes needed to win the White House increases from 270 to 339 and the new EC votes are mostly in Blue States.

An analysis of the Wyoming Rule on Wikipedia indicates that, if the Wyoming Rule had been in effect in 2000 and 2016, the outcome might have been the same.  It wouldn’t fix everything, but it would be a big improvement.

It also would make it easier for the Democrats to control the House of Representatives.  The one-state, one-representative rule, combined with a cap on total representatives, does create disparities in the number of people in each congressional district.

The new Congress could also grant statehood to Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

And it could tie all federal aid to states to an elimination of gerrymandering practices.  It could require congressional and statehouse districts to be apportioned by bi-partisan commissions.  The courts might overrule this one, but it’s worth a try.

LINKS

The Wyoming Rule on Wikipedia.

The Reapportionment Act of 1929 Explained on Everything Explained.

Fix the Electoral College by Increasing the House of Representatives by Kevin Baker for The Street.

What Happens Now? by Charles Stross on Charlie’s Diary.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: