Electoral College Favors Democrats

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I often hear my Republican/right-of-center friends express fear of the national popular vote because they don't want to lose the advantage they believe the current winner-take-all system awards conservatives. But these totally ungrounded fears are not what this piece is about. This piece is about the partisan advantage the current system actually gives to Democrats.

According to professor Leonard Steinhorn of American University, Democrats enjoy a 10-electoral vote advantage from today's system of handing all of a state's electoral votes to that state's popular vote winner. The National Popular Vote bill, which I sponsor in Minnesota, would eliminate this advantage overnight by making every voter equally important.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

Here's why Democrats benefit from the current system:

The U.S. Constitution requires the census to count all "persons"—including noncitizens—in order to apportion electoral votes. Five very large states with a disproportionate number of noncitizen voters thus acquire additional electoral votes and powerful extra clout.

They are California (+5 electoral vote Democrat advantage); New York (+1 electoral vote Democrat advantage); Washington state (+1 electoral vote Democrat advantage); and Texas (+2 electoral vote Republican advantage). As a battleground state, Florida represents no partisan advantage in the Electoral College. So in total, Democrats enjoy a +5 electoral vote advantage from the current system.

The Electoral College is a zero sum game. When one state gains an elector(s), other state(s) must lose them. Due to the counting of noncitizen residents, the following nonbattleground states lose electoral votes: Indiana (-1); Missouri (-1); Louisiana (-1); Montana (-1); and Oklahoma (-1). Other states losing one elector include Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio. These are battleground states offering no inherent advantage to either party.

[See photos from the 2012 Presidential Campaign Trail.]

So if you're a Republican who believes the current system of electing the president favors our candidate, think again. The counting of "persons" puts us at a constant disadvantage.

National popular vote awards 270 or more electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most popular votes across all 50 states. A vote in Missouri or Oklahoma would matter equally to a vote in California or New York. It ends partisan advantage and makes every vote matter. Conservatives and Republicans have nothing to fear and everything to gain.

Pat L. Garofalo

About Pat L. Garofalo Republican State Representative from Minnesota

Electoral College
2012 presidential election
Democratic Party

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