Earlier this evening I gave a talk calling for the abolition of the Electoral College at the Culture Project, a remarkable series of plays hosted by the Naked Angels Theater Project at 45 Bleeker Street.
Some not so "fun facts" I shared earlier tonight:
--The 10 smallest states in America, by population, control 32 electoral votes. That's 6% of the votes in the Electoral College, yet their population is 7.6 million, or 2% of the national total. Thus 2% of the population controls 6% of the votes for the presidency.
--Those 10 smallest states have less people living there than there are people living in New York City (8 million).
--The state with the most electoral leverage, meaning the smallest number of elligible voters per elector, is Wyoming: A "red state" in 2000, and the home of our Vice President. In Wyoming, there are 120,000 eligible voters per electoral voter. That makes it #1.
--The state with the highest ratio of elligible voters to electors is Pennsylvania. In PA, there are 436,000 eligible voters per electoral voter. Thus a voter in Wyoming is worth 2.6 times "more" than a voter in Pennsylvania. Who said "one voter, one vote?" More like, "one voter, some kind of vote."
--The state in the middle, meaning perfectly balanced between the top 25 states in terms of influence versus the bottom 25 is Oregon, a "blue state" in 2000. In Oregon, there are 345,000 eligible voters per elector.
--Of the top 25 states, 16 were "red states" in 2000, giving the GOP 67% of the high-leverage electoral votes.
--Those states have 48.5 million residents, or 17% of the national population. 17% of the population controls 24% of the Electoral College. "One voter, one vote?" Not exactly.
--And finally, my home state of New York. We're #47 on the list, close to the bottom. In New York, there are 402,000 eligible voters per elector. Look at it this way: a voter in Wyoming is worth 2.3 times more than a voter in New York.
Many of you in the audience asked me to make available the statistics I shared on how unfair the Electoral College is. I am appending them to this message. Now many of you also asked, "What can we do about this?" Well, part of the answer lies in our figuring this out together. Those of you want to email me can do so at email@example.com; you can also post messages in response to this, and possibly, if enough people respond, get a discussion going here on next steps.
Herre's what you can download from here:
1. 3 Charts showing the rank of states, in terms of how much influence a voter has by state. Download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Download electoralslides.pdf
2. An outline of my talk, also in PDF format: Download onevoteronevotetalk.pdf
3. The numbers...a single page spreadsheet, in PDF format, that shows my calculations; those of you who want the original Excel version can email me and I'll send it to you. Download thenumbers.pdf
I chose putting these files in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, because this format is easy to read across different kinds of computers and operating systems. Odds are you have Adobe on your computer already and the files will open. If you dont, you can get the Adobe Acrobat Reader for free at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
And finally, I decided to push the technological enveloppe and make available the video of my talk. It's a big file-- 11.3 megabytes-- but it should "stream" in MPEG-4 format; if you have QuickTime it will play in your browser. it might also play in Windows Media Player, but I am not sure if they support this format. And at some point I may have to take the movie down, if it turns out that it takes away from the rest of my download allocation on this server. Meanwhile, here's the video clip: Download talkvid.mp4