How does the electoral college give smaller states more of a voice in elections?

Many people will say that the electoral college gives smaller populated states more of a voice in this country. How so? The least populated states get 3 electoral votes each. The whole country is 538 electoral votes. Lets take Wyoming for example, it gets 3 electoral votes out of 538. Thats not even that big a voice if you ask me. How does the popular vote give them less of a voice. The state has over 584,000 people out of 318 million in the whole country. I'm confused

Also the reason why Trump won is because he won big states like Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. It had nothing to do with the small states. When Mccain and Romney ran, they won just about every small rural state just like Trump did, and both lost the election.

9 Answers

  • Jeff D
    Lv 7
    3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The electoral college gives smaller states more electoral votes than they would get if electoral votes were allocated solely on the basis of population. This reason is that the number of electoral votes is based on the number of Representatives in the House plus the number of Senators. The number of Representatives IS based on population, but the number of Senators is a constant (two for all states). This skews representation towards smaller states. Thus, a small state like Wyoming gets three electoral votes even though, based on population alone, they would only have one; whereas a large state like California gets 55 electoral votes even though, based on population alone, they would only have 53. Thus, Wyoming gets a much bigger boost--percentage wise--than California (300% vs about 4%).

    Big states are still vital to winning the Presidency, but the electoral college effectively takes away some of their votes and redistributes them to smaller states.

  • 3 years ago

    Big states like New York and California need allot more votes per elector than small states. Otherwise, those 2 states would always select the president. The number of electors in each state is equal to the total of representatives and senators in each state. Representative are based on population but each state only gets 2 senators. It is the same formula that makes the congress fair for each state. The down side is that a vote in Wyoming means allot more than a vote in California.

    The population in California is 66 times that of Wyoming but only has 18 times as many electors as Wyoming.

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    It doesn't give them "more" of a voice as in more than the big states. What it does is give them more of a voice than their population warrants. Every state is entitled to three electoral votes regardless of size. If we look at Wyoming, the least populous state, they have three electoral votes for almost 600,000 people. That means that there is one electoral vote for every 200,000 people in Wyoming. California has 55 electoral votes. California, the most populous state, has 55 electoral votes for over 39 million people. So there's one electoral vote for about ever 700,000 Californians. So, yes, California has over 18 times the electoral votes of Wyoming, but they've got 65 times the population of Wyoming. So those states have more power in the electoral college than they do in terms of population.

    You're right in a sense that Trump won 2016 because he won states like Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, etc. And the reason that there was an electoral vote/popular vote split is because he won fairly narrow victories in most of those states while Clinton won larger victories in other states. But that's only true when we look at it in comparison to the 2012 election, which was also run in the current system which gives extra voting power to small states. But Trump was only competitve at all because of the boost given to small states. His swing state victories in Florida and the Rust Belt only brought him victory because he had a large bank of votes already secure for him in the South and the West.

  • 3 years ago

    Assuming your population numbers are correct Wyoming has .18% of the population but gets .56% of the electoral votes. That gives them 3 times the effect on the election.

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  • mom
    Lv 6
    3 years ago

    I have never understood the reasoning behind it nor have I agreed with it. In almost every state the winner of one percent over half the votes takes the whole electoral votes. If we were voting on state Governor, I would think it was ok. We are not, however, and this way of using electoral votes makes all the other votes in a state not count.

  • 3 years ago

    It had everything to do with the small states. Trump won most of the smaller states plus the bigger ones. If you were sitting at 266 like Trump was during the election nite, the three votes of Wyoming would put him at 269--at that point he would be president-because at 269 the winner would be decided by the house of representatives.

  • 3 years ago

    It's pretty simple. CA, for example, has 55 Electoral votes and a population of 39 million or 1 vote for every 709,000 people. Wyoming has 1 vote for every 195,000 which means that each WY vote is worth 3.6 times what a CA vote is.

  • 3 years ago

    Because it still gives them some voice. Clinton got both California AND New York, two of the most important states yet she lost.

  • 3 years ago

    Trump won 35 out of 50 states. THAT's why he won.

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