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The 50 states, redrawn with equal population

The 576,412 people who reside in Wyoming represent 0.18 percent of the total U.S. population. But Wyoming’s three electoral votes represent 0.68 percent of the total number of votes available to a presidential candidate, and the state’s two senators are, of course, 2 percent of the voting members of the U.S. Senate. Blame the electoral college and the Constitution, which sets the number of senators, for Wyoming’s (relatively) outsized influence.

But what if we redrew the map to give every state an equal voice — by giving them an equal population? Mapmaker Neil Freeman has done just that, by drawing 50 states with just about 6,175,000 people each.

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Our colleague Dylan Matthews wrote about Freeman’s map back in August, but we thought it was worth a repost. Freeman’s map gives us some pretty condensed states — New York, Newark, Washington, Los Angeles and Houston get their own boundaries. Others, like Salt Lake and Shiprock, which stretches from California east to Oklahoma, are pretty huge.

But every state would get the same number of electoral votes, and every Congressional district would have about the same number of people (Freeman has another proposal: Expand the House to 450 members, which would give every state nine representatives, or 500 members, which would give everyone 10 reps).

Just as the decennial redistricting process inevitably pits incumbent congressmen against each other, redrawing state lines would inevitably throw several senators into competitive races. All six senators from Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota would end up in Ogallala, a state that stretches from Colorado Springs to the Canadian border. Ranier would include senators from Washington and Alaska, while Oregon’s two senators, both Portland residents, would have to face off with Hawaii’s two senators for the right to represent Shasta.

You can bet the new Congress would have many more New York accents. The states of New York, Pocono, Adirondack and Throgs Neck would all need new senators.

Like the map? Freeman is selling copies — and Christmas is right around the corner.

GALLERY: The 10 biggest news stories of 2013

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.



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Reid Wilson · November 25, 2013

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