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Why the U.S. Electoral College Is Undemocratic (With Statistical Analysis)

Larry Rankin attempts to discern the logic, or lack thereof, in various, topical social issues.

I remember learning the concept of “One person, one vote” in grade school. I remember learning that by definition a democracy is a collective group governed by the majority. Then I remember scratching my head as the teacher completely contradicted our country’s definition by proceeding to explain to us that in order to become president of the United States you don’t even have to receive the majority of votes.

Even kids can tell that the Electoral College system we use in the U.S. is screwy, yet we keep right on with it, business as usual. What if I told you that your vote this November very likely won’t matter? What if I told you a vote in California is worth far less than a vote in Rhode Island? What if I told you I had undeniable mathematical proof that what I say is fact?

Would you say I hate America? Would you call me a scumbag, an anarchist, a terrorist? I’m always taken aback by folks who say things like, “If you think this country is so awful, then why don’t you just leave?” Do they not realize that often the people who are questioning things are the only ones that actually care?

Whether you think I’m patriot or pariah, if you’re willing to muddle through just a little math with me today, I’ll do my best to demonstrate to you why our current system for electing our most hallowed offices, President and Vice President, is catastrophically flawed on the very most fundamental level: the way we credit votes.

Breakdown of Electoral Votes Per State

Breakdown of Electoral Votes Per State

Breakdown of the Electoral College:

The Electoral College functions as follows: All 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. combine for 538 electors because there are 100 Senators and 435 Representatives in Congress for some reason, and if you add those together, you get 535. Each state is given the number of electoral votes equal to the combined number of Senators and Representatives in the State because the 12th Amendment says so. Washington, D.C., not technically being a member of any state, gets 3 electors because the smallest states have 3 Congressman and the 23rd Amendment tells us that it has to get as much say as the smallest state.

To add to the absurdity of this bizarre and arbitrary system, the presidential and vice presidential candidates who receive the most votes in a state take all of said state’s electoral votes. For example, if a candidate gets 51% of the votes from Florida, they get all 29 of that state’s electoral votes, and to me here is the kicker, the number of votes a state gets is not proportionate to its population! Yes, bigger states get more votes and smaller states get fewer (usually), but the number of electors a state gets is not based on any sound mathematical principles beyond that.

What is the result of all this foolishness? The most recent example is the 2016 presidential election in which Hilary Clinton received 48.5% of the votes and Donald Trump received 46.4% of the votes, yet won. In the history of the U.S.A., a result like the Clinton/Trump election has happened five times. Looking at the rickety structure of our Electoral College, it is a miracle it hasn’t happened more.

Table Key

Population= Estimated population of state as of 2015

Electoral= Number of electoral votes currently assigned to state

Prop= Number of electoral votes each state should have to make values proportional per capita

Disc= Discrepancy between the proportionate amount of electoral votes versus actual

%Disc= Percentage discrepancy between proportionate representation versus actual

Underrepresentation of States in Electoral College

StatePopulationElectoralPropDisc%Disc

1. California

39,144,818

55

200.36

145.36

-72.50%

2. Texas

27,469,114

38

140.6

102.6

-72.90%

3. Florida

20,271,272

29

103.76

74.76

-72.10%

4. New York

19,795,791

29

101.33

72.33

-71.40%

5. Illinois

12,859,995

20

65.82

45.82

-69.60%

6. Pennsylvania

12,802,503

20

65.53

45.53

-69.50%

7. Ohio

11,613,423

18

59.44

41.44

-69.70%

8. Georgia

10,214,802

16

52.28

36.28

-69.40%

9. North Carolina

10,042,802

15

51.4

36.4

-70.80%

10. Michigan

9,922,576

16

50.79

34.79

-68.50%

11. New Jersey

8,958,013

14

45.85

31.85

-69.50%

12. Virginia

8,382,993

13

42.91

29.91

-69.70%

13. Washington

7,170,351

12

36.7

24.7

-67.30%

14. Arizona

6,828,065

11

34.95

23.95

-68.50%

15. Massachusetts

6,794,422

11

34.78

23.78

-68.30%

16. Indiana

6,619,680

11

33.88

22.88

-67.50%

17. Tennessee

6,600,299

11

33.78

22.78

-67.40%

18. Missouri

6,083,672

10

31.13

21.13

-67.90%

19. Maryland

6,006,401

10

30.74

20.74

-67.50%

20. Wisconsin

5,771,337

10

29.54

19.54

-66.10%

21. Minnesota

5,489,594

10

28.1

18.1

-64.40%

22. Colorado

5,456,574

9

27.93

18.93

-67.80%

23. South Carolina

4,896,146

9

25.06

16.06

-64.10%

24. Alabama

4,858,979

9

24.88

15.88

-63.80%

25. Louisiana

4,670,724

8

23.91

15.91

-66.50%

26. Kentucky

4,425,092

8

22.64

14.64

-64.70%

27. Oregon

4,028,977

7

20.62

13.62

-66.10%

28. Oklahoma

3,911,338

7

20.02

13.02

-65.00%

29. Connecticut

3,590,886

7

18.38

11.38

-61.90%

30. Iowa

3,123,899

6

15.99

9.99

-62.50%

31. Utah

2,995,919

6

15.33

9.33

-60.90%

32. Mississippi

2,992,333

6

15.32

9.32

-60.80%

33. Arkansas

2,978,204

6

15.24

9.24

-60.60%

34. Kansas

2,911,641

6

14.9

8.9

-59.70%

35. Nevada

2,890,845

6

14.8

8.8

-59.50%

36. New Mexico

2,085,109

5

10.67

5.67

-53.10%

37. Nebraska

1,896,190

5

9.71

4.71

-48.50%

38. West Virginia

1,844,128

5

9.44

4.44

-47.00%

39. Idaho

1,654,930

4

8.47

4.47

-52.80%

40. Hawai'i

1,431,603

4

7.33

3.33

-45.40%

41. New Hampshire

1,330,608

4

6.81

2.81

-41.30%

42. Maine

1,329,328

4

6.8

2.8

-41.20%

43. Rhode Island

1,056,298

4

5.41

1.41

-26.10%

44. Montana

1,032,949

3

5.29

2.29

-43.20%

45. Delaware

945,934

3

4.84

1.84

-38.00%

46. South Dakota

858,469

3

4.39

1.39

-31.70%

47. North Dakota

756,927

3

3.87

0.87

-22.40%

48. Alaska

738,432

3

3.78

0.78

-20.60%

49. Washington, D.C.

672,228

3

3.44

0.44

-12.80%

50. Vermont

626,042

3

3.2

0.2

-6.20%

51. Wyoming

586,107

3

3

0

+/-0%

Are Some States Really That Underrepresented in the Electoral College?

Yes! I was astonished to find that many states’ electoral representation was in excess of 70% deficient. For example, as the second biggest state, Texas is the most poorly represented per capita at a deficiency of 72.9%. In order for things to be proportionate, Texas would need somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 electoral votes rather than the 38 it is given. In order for California to have an appropriate per capita representation it would need something like 200 electoral votes rather than 55.

Proportionately speaking, the U.S.’s smallest state, Wyoming, with 3 electoral votes, gets more bang for its buck than any other state.

I know small states often complain about their lack of representation, but if you look at proportion, they actually have far more sway than they should. If you look at the “One person, One vote” principle that is at the very heart of a true democracy, it is the small states that spit in the face of this concept.

How Does “Winner Takes All” by State Impact Voting?

I’ll use myself as an example. I’m a liberal. I live in Oklahoma where a liberal couldn’t win in the present climate. My vote is essentially meaningless. Oklahoma’s 7 points will go to a conservative. My presidential vote thusly becomes entirely void. Come November 8th I’ll probably just save the gas and stay home.

The further negative impact of such a system is that we don’t get a true picture of what the people really want. For example, if California is so liberal that a conservative presidential candidate can’t win, and the public knows this, than a lot of the conservatives are just going to stay home. So rather than a 60%/40% split that would represent the population accurately, we see an 80%/20% split.

And probably the biggest drawback for such a system is that it builds a great deal of apathy amongst the population towards the democratic process.

U.S. Senate in Session

U.S. Senate in Session

Farther Reaching Implications:

When one considers that the number of electoral votes, 538, is derived from the number of Senators and Representatives in the U.S., minus the 3 votes from D.C., and that the Electoral College woefully undervalues many of its states, does it not also become apparent that small states have far too much say in Congress?

What is the negative impact of this? Again, the most evident problem is that it skews the “One person, one vote” principle. And it is also yet one more way for big business to more easily buy influence. While it is hard for even a billionaire to buy a state like California, a state like Wisconsin and its less than 6 million people is much easier, while its 10 elected officials offer a lot more value per dollar than California’s 55.

The Solution Is Simple and Difficult

The solution in regards to the presidency is to just count all the votes and the candidate with the most votes wins. It’s just that simple! I don’t know about you, but I would always vote if I knew it was an actual vote and my opinion would make it out of Oklahoma for once.

The logistics of doing this is much more difficult. The 12th and 23rd Amendments would have to be negated, and for whatever reason, when an amendment stands in the way of progress, much less two, apathy always seems to win out.

In lieu of changing U.S. Amendments or in addition to it, the country would also be well served to reapportion Congress so it proportionately represented the country’s population. Again, lots of hurdles, not the least of which is at least tripling the number in Congress.

Opinion:

Final Thoughts

The whole Electoral College system in the U.S. is beyond broken. One could call it laughable, but not me. I have to live here. For me it’s just embarrassing. That our math skills are so bad that we can’t even seem to understand proportion, that collectively we can’t even grasp the definition of democracy, yet insist on calling ourselves one, it’s sad.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Comments

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 18, 2020:

Robert Reich has a solution which bypasses the need for any constitutional amendments.

In short, each state simply passes a law that mandates that ALL of their electoral college reps vote for the winner of the popular majority.

Done, and done. One person, one vote, even if with a detour.

https://robertreich.org/post/165765817385

KEVIN L BAKER on August 18, 2020:

Hi Larry. Your article clearly spells out the problem. Glad you mentioned a way to fix it in your last solution paragraph. I wrote about that fix back in 2016: https://www.thestreet.com/politics/fix-the-elector... Most people are shocked to learn we have not added seats to the U.S. House since the census of 1910. We just need a losing Blue-State Republican 2020 House candidate to sue and have the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 on the grounds of unequal representation forcing Congress to pass a new apportionment law with much smaller districts that can be roughly equal in size between states. Do you like that plan?

BradmasterOCcal on August 20, 2018:

Do you think this response of yours is a compelling argument.

The answer is NO.

Using the popular vote wipes out the small population states, and imposes the goals of the large population states.

Do we want the country to elect as president by the large populations of the ten populations? The top ten account for about half the population of the country, but only 20% of the states. So is it OK to just ignore the other 40 states?

Equality is Equality and trying to force any group to pay more than another group is not equality. Proportionality is not equality.

If the people are taxed at X% then everyone pays X% and that is equality.

And equality as the major platform of the democrats should also apply equally.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on August 20, 2018:

Brad: you're the one brought up taxes in the first place. It was off topic. I only fielded it to be polite.

And believe it or not, you can compare inadequcies, even if they are different, like the poor paying too many taxes and the wealthy paying too few and the small states having a disproportionate influence when compared to the large in the EC.

Also, I wanted Hillary to win, but if she had been appointed by the EC and not elected by the people, I'd still be screaming EC reform.

It's a fundamentally unsound system, and the fact that people, especially the President, can be appointed is a disgusting oversight.

And I'm not suggesting it be retroactively, but for future elections, which again confirms the sincerity of my feelings.

Another thing that's been bothering me is the use of the word tyranny. I don't think folks no what that word means. Tyranny has to do with an oppressive government.

The current system gives the government the power to appoint presidents regardless of the will of the people. I've suggested reform, either getting rid of or altering the EC so that everyone is equally represented.

How can equality be tyranny?

Because you brought it up, equality in taxes is different. It's not a1:1 ratio, because, as you pointed out, it's a different topic.

For example, if you have $10, and pay $1 in taxes, that is proportionate to paying $10 in taxes if you have $100.

In taxes equality involves proportionality. In voting it still involved proportionality, but it's much simpler. Everybody should get 1. That's not how it currently works.

BradMasterOCcal on August 17, 2018:

Liz

Seriously, is that all you have to respond.

I didn't make any assumptions!

If you can't or won't argue your point, then why do you comment?

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 17, 2018:

@BradMasterOCal

You are wrong in your assumptions. Perhaps you should learn what "assume" spells...

BradMasterOCcal on August 17, 2018:

Liz

And it is a good thing that Donald Trump won the presidency.

And all during the campaign the media kept saying that Trump wouldn't get the 270 EC votes, and they were still doing it on election night. All the way until Trump was predicted winner.

You probably wouldn't have had an EC issue if Trump lost would you?

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 17, 2018:

You are oh, so sadly correct! It is a skewed and unfair system, and it was not always in place. The electoral college did not come into existence until Feb. 1877!

Getting rid of it would require a pair of constitutional amendments, which is extermely difficult to accomplish. But we can undo its influence without going through that process as Robert Reich explains here: https://youtu.be/s6UBwPYdl74 .

As far as apathy and not bothering to vote, I won't go there. There are other reasons for showing up at the polls. In the last year or so, I have become active in our local Democratic club, and I've learned these dismal facts:

1) Our county has a majority of Democrats, but the Republicans usually carry the majority of wins in offices ranging from school boards up through the county level.

2) Representation at the county and state level is predicated on voter turnout; our county's Dems are so apathetic that we have lost 2 seats of representation!

That is why you should always vote, even if it seems like it's a 'why bother.' Because people with that habit/attitude are ONE of the reasons we ended up with tRUMP. ;-(

BradMasterOCcal on August 17, 2018:

If I make 1,000 millions a year (I don't, lol), and pay one of those millions in taxes, that's 1/1000 of my salary. If I make $50,000 a year (I don't make that either) and pay $20,000 in taxes, that's 2/5.

B:

Don't you think that the real issue in taxes is how the rich don't even pay a million because of the Internal Revenue Code, that the working for wages people don't have available to use?

-----------------------------------

The latter is far more impactful. The 90% pay way more in taxes from an impact standpoint than the 10%.

B:

How is the Internal Revenue Code mechanism involved in the presidential election process?

-------------------------------------

Same concept with the Electoral college. Democracy, Republic, whatever, the number of electoral votes should be proportionate to the population of the state.

B:

Notwithstanding my tax comments, it would seem that proportional EC votes would be fairer.

I don't think that would have changed the 2016 presidential election results because Hillary won most of the high EC vote states.

But winning the popular vote is meaningless because it allows high population states to determine the president, and renders the other states vote useless.

BTW, one of the inequities in the 2 party system and the setup of congress and the presidency is that the party voter of the losing candidate no longer has any representation in congress or even the presidency, depending on the president of course.

Yes we have two senators per state, but they can both be from the same party like California has done for decades.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on August 17, 2018:

John & Brad: Proportions! What is so hard to understand about that?

If I make 1,000 millions a year (I don't, lol), and pay one of those millions in taxes, that's 1/1000 of my salary. If I make $50,000 a year (I don't make that either) and pay $20,000 in taxes, that's 2/5.

The latter is far more impactful. The 90% pay way more in taxes from an impact standpoint than the 10%.

Same concept with the Electoral college. Democracy, Republic, whatever, the number of electoral votes should be proportionate to the population of the state.

BradMasterOCcal on August 08, 2018:

John

I agree with your comment except this paragraph

"Until the tyrannical lincoln came to power, and annihilated that concept by destroying the Confederate States and enacting martial law to force his concept of governing on the people in the U.S."

What would you have done as president John?

The current centralized government of today couldn't have happened with the inept decisions of SCOTUS.

Two factors allowed this change to a large central government.

1. Interstate Commerce Clause

2. And the elimination of the apportionment in passing the 16th Amendment.

The ICC allowed the federal government to grow because everything became a federal issue.

The funding to pay for the growth of the federal government was through the Income Tax.

In both of these factors, it was the SCOTUS that paved the way with their decisions. These decisions were iffy and close but nonetheless allowed the 2 sentences of the ICC to give the federal government more and more power. As you said not what the founders intended.

The SCOTUS rejected any and all cases that tried to repeal the Income Tax. Even though an amendment is de jure constitutional, it can still be attack for its unconstitutional implementation.

BTW, imho, it is the income tax with its Internal Revenue Code that is the root of unequal distribution of wealth in the US.

The marginal tax rate of even 90% was not effective in making the rich pay their fair share because they could use the multitudes of tax evasions created by congress for them in the Internal Revenue Code.

After the 1986 Tax Reform Act, the middle class no longer had any real tax deductions,because they lost the state sales tax, and the credit card interest. Today with the high interest paid to Credit Card Companies that would be very useful.

Most of the big money is made on investments and they are given capital gain tax rates which is lower than most middle class marginal tax rates, at least before the Trump tax reduction.

Yes, the top 10% pay 90% of all the income tax, but that is only a small part of what they would have to pay if they were to pay their fair share.

Just a thought!

John Wilson from Whereever I hang my hat is my hone. Currently in Ibarra, Ecuador on August 08, 2018:

That was the whole point of the electoral procedure - the founders did not want "democracy" but a republic.

The original mandate, looking at the original Constitution, was the states would tell the federal government what to do. The founders ( most of them, at least) felt that it would be wrong to have a centralized government.

Until the tyrannical lincoln came to power, and annihilated that concept by destroying the Confederate States and enacting martial law to force his concept of governing on the people in the U.S.

As close to a dictator as the U.S. has ever seen, lincoln was to lame for the move to a centralized federal government.

Pretty silly that it is not learned in school - the U.S. was never a democracy, was always a republic.

Brad on December 22, 2017:

Larry

One person one vote, how can you get that when for example in CA the 4million votes for Trump are thrown away when the entire 55 EC votes go for Hillary who had 7million. But if they apportioned and gave 4/11 of the 55 to Trump and 7/11 to Hillary that would be better.

Gerrymandering is also a way to lose the one person one vote.

The other problem is that the popular vote doesn't represent the country, it represents the states with the highest population. That defeats the power of the states.

That is why the US Senate has every state with only 2 senators, while the house has more depending on the population.

None of these are optimal but how do we preserve the concept of states?

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on December 22, 2017:

Good debate. I'm sorry I haven't been around lately.

Obviously I usually swing liberal. If you've read many of my political articles, you know this. But I want to emphasize that this article has nothing to do with that.

I'm not suggesting we pull Trump out and put Clinton in. What's done is done, regarding his appointment.

One of these days things are going to flip and the unpopular Democrat will be appointed, and I'll be saying the same thing. I'll have a less bitter taste in my mouth about it, but wrong will still be wrong.

Another thing I'm seeing from the comments is people have this weird idea that it's a state vs. state issue. Like somehow, "Well, little Oklahoma and the Dakotas whipped California's butt!" Like it's a football game.

That's just preposterous. State representation has no baring here. It's a National vote!

States are allowed to have their own laws and ideas with limitations. That's fine. But we're all in the presidential vote together.

In my opinion, if you see it differently, you're thinking too hard. One person=one vote.

Greg Schweizer from Corona, California. on December 14, 2017:

The EC is not the people's choice. I would agree to EC only if all states were like Maine and Nebraska.

Readmikenow on December 14, 2017:

I think this article in the Huffington Post says it best about the electoral college.

“If the shoe were on the other foot and Midwestern evangelical states had a population advantage, you can bet New Yorkers and Californians would be defending the electoral college to the death.

The beauty of our system is that it allows people with vastly different beliefs and values to live together in one federal republic dedicated to protecting their freedom to hold those beliefs, right or wrong, so long as they do not infringe the rights of others. To transform the republic to a pure democracy and allow a few, cosmopolitan states to rule over people who don’t share their beliefs would truly be tyranny and a threat to domestic peace.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-electoral...

Greg Schweizer from Corona, California. on December 14, 2017:

I believe the president should be elected by popular vote. But, we should also have to apply for a citizenship photo ID and have to present it when voting. This would help eliminate illegal votes. I have always been against the EC, but I am glad we had it in the 2016 elections.

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on December 14, 2017:

I agree. I once thought the Electoral College was fair so that big states would not overwhelm small states, but one person, one vote makes much sense. I doubt that it would ever happen tho. The smaller states that now have an unfair advantage won't ratify an amendment to the Constitution that ends the Electoral College. I just saw on TV, the in 5 presidential elections the candidate with the mot votes "lost". This includes the 2016 election.

Brad on December 12, 2017:

The EC would work better if they apportioned the votes. For example in 2016, CA had 11 million votes and the 4 million that Trump received was thrown away because the 7 million for Hillary gave the entire 55 EC votes for CA.

That 3 million vote difference gave Hillary the popular vote, but should the vote in CA determine the president of the US because of its population size. NO.

So the EC worked to make the votes from the rest of the country. But it would have been fairer if the votes from the states were not all or nothing.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 26, 2017:

Very true; but at this point, I'm considering retracting that characterization, so as not to insult the buffoons!

This man is evil incarnate.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on April 26, 2017:

Liz: a buffoon appointed to any office, no matter how high, is still a buffoon, lol.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 24, 2017:

Furthermore, Ohio has fewer votes than the six states ahead of it; so I have never understood why it's such a big deal for candidates. You would think Any of the first six, and particularly the first two, with their higher count of votes, would be given that kind of priority. But no, it's Ohio, and little New Hampshire that get all the pre-vote hoopla! SMH

(And with the last go-round, after Bernie was cheated, I felt I'd do as well to write in Snoopy or Mickey Mouse--they could hardly do worse than the buffoon who was INSTALLED! Not elected, mind you; installed is the exact word I meant to use.)

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on April 24, 2017:

Liz: And I would add that this isn't a Republican Democrat issue. True the Republicans have benefited the last 2 times this corrupt system has elected the wrong person, but it's just a matter of time before the shoe is on the other foot.

I'm glad to be linked to your article.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 23, 2017:

I have been saying for YEARS, now that the electoral college system needs to go away. One person, one vote, period!

(Another way the Bush/Gore debacle was mismanaged/cheated, if you will, was the Florida vote. You'll recall the 'hanging chads' issue, and the recount that was ordered. The fault here was that there was not a sufficiently reasonable TIME allowed to do a by-hand recount, so Gore lost the state, when he might actually have won.)

Furthermore, to be quite technical, we don't have a real 'Democracy;' what we have is a 'Democratic Republic.' There was a story told about someone asking Benjamin Franklin, at the conclusion of the first Continental Congress, "Well, what do we have?" His reply, "A Republic, if you can keep it."

Prophetic words, indeed.

I have an article on rather the same topic in the works, myself, and if you don't mind, I'd like to link to your article for the information you've given and your wonderful chart.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on February 11, 2017:

It's such an unnecessary and asinine system. It doesn't matter what party your in or how you vote, this system can't be justified.

I wrote this article before the recent presidential election. It wasn't in response to what happened. It was just to point out an obvious glitch in the system.

GregAnton on February 11, 2017:

Ohio gets tons of money from the treasury because every Congressman and Senator wants Ohioans to vote their way

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on January 06, 2017:

Rebelogilbert: thanks for dropping by.

Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on January 05, 2017:

Great work with the charts, Larry.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on October 10, 2016:

Paul: thanks for chiming in.

Paul on October 09, 2016:

I agree the current electoral college system is out of whack. Given this, I think a version of it should continue, perhaps on a county level giving a proportionate amount of the college votes to a candidate.

The reason for this thought is so that a sample of the population does not override the rights of the others. The problem is that there are too many outlier states which hold a large population and therefore control the current electoral system. An outright popular vote still does not address the issue where people in a lower populated state will not affect the election, they may as well not even vote when compared to a state like Texas or California.

The founders saw this and made a system which was fine in 1782 but has its flaws at this time. One of the great things about our Constitution is that it is a living document.

Greg Schweizer from Corona, California. on July 20, 2016:

I just looked it up, and it is actually at least 4 times. The latest was Busch/Gore in 2000. Before that, Adams/Jackson in 1824. Hayes/Tilden in 1876. Harrison/Cleveland in 1888. From "Ask Fact Check".

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on July 20, 2016:

Gregas: to me it is a miracle that it hasn't happened more.

Thanks for dropping by.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on July 20, 2016:

Lawrence: I'm always interested to see how othe countries do things. To me, though, the best method is to just count the darn votes and give the seat to the person with the most of them.

Greg Schweizer from Corona, California. on July 20, 2016:

There have been at least 2 presidents that should have been in by popular vote but made it because of the electoral college.

Lawrence Hebb on July 18, 2016:

Larry

Having read this I'm glad that we have a 'multi party' democracy here in New Zealand and it seems to work.

Having an 'electoral college' to me seems to work on one vote for approx every 700,000 votes and that (to me) means that out of every 700,000 if one party gets 360,000 of those votes they get the 'one seat' the college allows for, but that means if they get it in all the 'college seats' they get all the votes regardless of the fact that a large portion didn't vote for that!

Over here we have 'proportional representation' in that everyone gets TWO votes, one for the local candidate and one for the party.

To cross the threshold for getting a seat all the 'little guy' has to do is get 5% of the vote or win a local seat (it gives them two chances at a voice) and the system works.

It was Churchill said "Democracy is a terrible form of government, but it's better than all the others"

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on July 17, 2016:

Paul: thanks for your support.

I'm a liberal because I think we accomplish more by helping one another than helping ourselves.

Not that there is anything wrong with helping ourselves, but in my opinion, a dominant conservative presence tries to do so exclusively.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on July 17, 2016:

Thanks for sharing an excellent hub where you make a good argument with your statistical analysis. May I ask why you are a liberal and have you been one all of your life? I am sharing this hub with HP followers.

jgshorebird on July 07, 2016:

As always, your hubs make me think.

However, the solution is not a pure democracy. We must remember the why. Why the founders, as imperfect as they were and as imperfect as we are today -- did what they did. And why the college developed. It was an effort to try not to devolve into a dictatorship by the majority.

A democratic republic, with a constitution was an attempt to thwart gang rule and of course, Kings. I feel you are asking for a return to the past. We must be careful not to throw the baby out, even if the baby crapped his diaper and has a rash.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on July 03, 2016:

Lawrence: it absolutely isn't fair.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Norma Lawrence from California on July 01, 2016:

Very good article. I have never liked the Electoral College. It does not seem fair.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 27, 2016:

FlourishAnyway: I vote, especially for local stuff, but the way the presidency is done is so beyond frustrating. The worth of votes from state to state varies wildly, and because it's a winner take all system, if you live in a state where 80% of the population is on the other side of things from you, you're vote literally doesn't matter.

That said, I'll still probably get out and vote. If for nothing else, in respect for the freedom to. I just wish that freedom wasn't tread upon by the absurdity of the Electoral College.

Thanks for dropping by. I always enjoy your feedback.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 27, 2016:

Billy: even just the way elected officials just instate massive changes without consulting us is so frustrating to me.

I understand that we can't be a part of every mundane detail, and that sometimes emergencies require quick actions, but I'm talking about huge changes being made without consulting us.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 27, 2016:

It's a broken system alright, and you provide great information as to why. Out of principle I could never stay home on Election Day. Anyone who was denied the historical right to vote (e.g., women, African Americans) MUST out of sheer principle get themselves to the voting booth no matter what. I encourage others to do it too because it's the right thing.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 27, 2016:

Nice collection of information here, Larry! I wish the American public would wake up and actually give a damn about the voting process...demand changes and changes will come. Maybe slowly but they will come.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 26, 2016:

Mel: lol, I do always enjoy your commentary. Wish I could share your optimism regarding Bernie. If there was just some magic wand could be waved to make people understand he's the only candidate gives a s*** about any of us.

But I'm straying from the topic of this particular article. It goes beyond allegiance to any candidate. The Electoral College is just downright silly when you think about, that doesn't matter how you categorize yourself: liberal, conservative, or other.

It's just one more bit of nonsense standing in the way a democracy.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 26, 2016:

If we have has differences I haven't noticed. Just window dressing stuff, which color curtains Bernie should hang in the Lincoln bedroom. That kind of stuff.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 26, 2016:

Mel: I know we've had some differing opinions of late, but I've also made it clear I agree with who you want for president. The problem, he doesn't have a party and there are only so many electoral votes.

The Electoral College absolutely kills any chance of a three or more candidate race.

I'll probably vote. I'm just that stubborn, but the current system is so frustrating.

Thanks for dropping by.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 26, 2016:

Gregas: thanks for the feedback.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 26, 2016:

I've been thinking about the Electoral College recently in light of my exhausting diatribes on the two party system. I think the Electoral College is exactly why we are stuck with a two-party system. Politicians know it would be too hard to divide up the electoral cake in so many pieces and still win an election, so they have instead coalesced into two parties, with the attending negative results for America.

Great analysis here. I was trying to think of a soothing reason for you to go vote on election day anyway, but other than the usual meaningless pap (Exercise your right, etc.) I was drawing a blank. You're right, you might as well stay home, and maybe I will too.

Greg Schweizer from Corona, California. on June 26, 2016:

I have never believed in or trusted the Electoral College.