How does your vote count in the Electoral College based on where you live?

This article is a collaboration with my daughter, Meghan Bailey.

Each state gets an allotment of electoral college votes based on their population. States with a higher population get more electoral votes such as Texas’ 38 (based on July 2019 estimated population of just under 29 million). Those states with a smaller population are allotted 3 electoral votes. For example, Wyoming gets 3 with a population just under 579,000.

How does the individual vote of a person living in Texas compare to an individual vote of a person living in Wyoming? In a perfect democracy, every vote would count the same, regardless of where you live. In our electoral college system, that isn’t the case.

Let’s do the math. First we need to get a population count by state. We also need to know the electoral votes each state is allotted. We take the population of the state and divide that by the number of that state’s electoral vote count to get the amount of people represented by a single electoral vote. Next we take a single person and divide it by the amount of people represented by a single electoral vote to get the percentage of impact a person’s vote has by state.

[1 individual / (State Population / State Electoral Count)] * 100 = % Your Vote Counts by State

Visually represented, we can see that a person’s vote in Wyoming can sway their electoral vote in their favor 5 times more than a person voting in Texas. (A voter in Wyoming has a 0.05% impact on their electoral college vote vs a voter in Texas that has a 0.01% impact.)

The relationship between the population of a state and the % your vote counts is indirectly proportional. If you live in a lower populated state, your vote counts more than if you live in a higher populated state.

If we removed the electoral college, each person’s vote would have the same percentage of representation nationally. The denominator will change based on voter turnout.

(1 / Total Voters in US) * 100 = % Your Vote Counts Regardless of Where you Live

If more people vote, your vote will have less impact. If less people vote, your vote will have more impact. This would provide an incentive to vote because you want the opposition’s representation to lessen, making the process more democratic by increasing voter turnout.

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