Sunday, November 27, 2016

And it gets even worse

or the tyranny of the small states

A follow on from post yesterday about the unfairness of the electoral college. I was surprised by how small of minority of the voting population could elect the president of the US. It really is possible with the electoral college that 78.5% percent of voters could be overruled by as few as 21.5% in electing the president of the US. 

Personally, I find the results a bit shocking. But it also made me wonder in which direction we are heading in--towards a more or less fair selection process given future population changes.

So, I went with published estimates of the 2015 population, then extrapolated these into the next census count year (2020). Obviously, there will be a shifting of the electoral college based on changing demographics and this was accounted for in the 2020 census year. The interesting part too is that the electoral college being fixed to the House and Senate and the members of the house have been fixed to 435 members since 1913--all this was taken into account.

What happens is that the skew gets worse (i.e. less fair). Generally because more populated states tend to acquire more people at a larger rate over all. So, the effect on the electoral college selection process in the future is that an even smaller portion of the population can elect the president in the future. In other words the relevancy of the majority in selecting the next president becomes even less relevant.

OK--so the plot:

In 10 years the worst case results in a downward trend of .12% less of the voting population needed to elect the next president. Before you write this off as inconsequential--that .12% represents 400,000 people. That's 400,000 additional people in 2020 that could potentially lose the right to have their vote count. And a further extrapolation of this trend (beyond 2020) just ends up getting worse.

Given that the small states have an disproportionate representation in electing the president due to the electoral college, I like to call this the tyranny of the small states.

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