Electoral College math


In the Electoral College, residents of different states have widely varying influence.

When thinking about the desirability of the Electoral College for electing a president, the arithmetic should be considered.

I have performed a few calculations, gathering state populations and the number of Electoral College votes. Here are the two extremes: In Wyoming, there are 192,579 people for each Electoral College vote (577,737 / 3). In Texas, the number is 755,312. That’s a difference of 3.92, which is a lot, I would say. For Kansas, the number is 485,251. The average value for a state (weighting all states equally) is 513,088, although the population of the country divided by 538 is 608,118. (I include the District of Columbia, as it has EC votes.)

Sample of the table in the visualization.

I present these calculations in an interactive visualization that you may access here.

Plot of state population versus Electoral College Power Index. Click for larger.

The visualization also holds a plot of state populations and Electoral College Power Index. By that, I mean the relative “power” of a state resident over their Electoral College votes. The state with the highest number of residents per Electoral College vote is Texas, which is assigned the value of one. Wyoming’s value is 3.92.

Note that a California resident, by living in the most populated state, votes in a state with 719,219 persons per Electoral College vote, which is the third-lowest state in power index (1.05). When Vermonters vote, they vote in a state with 208,766 residents per Electoral College vote, which is a power index of 3.62.


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