Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Overrepresentation of Small States In The Electoral College, Again

Highlighting yet another way in which small states have an outsized influence on American politics, each individual voter in a handful of small states with only one or two Representatives carries far more weight, as measured by the share of each electoral vote per voter, than the voters of a mid-sized state like Minnesota or Wisconsin. Here's the infoporn from the New York Times:



There are two obvious but totally politically unfeasible solutions to this problem is to either re-jigger the Senate to give any state with at least three Representatives a third Senator, and then any state with at least, say, seven or eight Representatives a fourth Senator. The structure of constitutional reform makes this more or less impossible unless the residents of small states collectively lose their minds.

The other solution would be to start eliminating states. You could make Wyoming into part of Montana, Colorado, or Utah; collapse the Dakotas into one state; collapse New Hampshire and Vermont into one state; and give the portions of DC where people live back to Maryland (leaving a handful of government buildings under Federal control). At that point, Alaska and Rhode Island would have the lowest number of voters per electoral vote at 180K and 192K, respectively. I have no clue what the procedure is for eliminating a state, but I'm sure this is a total non-starter.

Update: Astute and long-time reader Colin recalls that I once suggested tripling the size of the House of Representatives, which would, among other things, solve the quantization problem that gives Wyoming et al. additional voting power in the Electoral College. And indeed, this may be the least unfeasible solution to the problem.
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