Small States Are Ignored Because of the Current State-by-State Winner-Take-All Method of Awarding Electoral Votes

The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not prevent small states from being ignored in presidential elections. 

● Small states (the 13 states with only three or four electoral votes) are the most disadvantaged and ignored group of states under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes. The reason is that almost all of the small states are noncompetitive states in presidential elections, and political power in presidential elections comes from being a closely divided battleground state. 

● The 12 small non-battleground states have about the same population (11.5 million) as the closely divided battleground state of Ohio. These 12 small states have 40 electoral votes—more than twice Ohio’s 18 electoral votes. However, Ohio received 73 of 253 general-election campaign events in 2012, while the 12 small non-battleground states received none. 

● The current state-by-state winner-take-all system actually shifts power from small and medium-sized states to the accidental handful of big states that happen to be closely divided battleground states.

● Contrary to myth, the small states (the 13 states with only three or four electoral votes) are not predominantly Republican in presidential elections. In fact, a majority of the small states have gone Democratic in six of the seven presidential elections between 1988 and 2016. 

● The fact that the small states are disadvantaged by the current state-by-state winner-take-all system has been recognized by prominent officials from those states for many years.  In 1966, Delaware led a group of 12 predominantly small states in suing New York (then a closely divided battleground state) in the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to get state winner-take-all laws declared unconstitutional.

● Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, a vote for President in Wyoming or Delaware is equal to a vote in California or Texas—they are all politically irrelevant. 

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