The Electoral College re-imagined — in 1 map

February 15, 2013

With every presidential election comes renewed attention to the way the country elects its president. And time after time, polling has shown Americans are willing to do away with the Electoral College even though there is next-to-no interest in doing so among the political class.

But what if every state had the same population? That's the thought experiment artist and urban planner Neil Freeman engaged with this map he drafted and posted to his blog. (Worth noting: Freeman makes clear that this is an art project rather than a serious proposal.)

(Neil Freeman/

Of course, a map like this will never come to pass (or not until the zombie apocalypse, at least). And that's not the point. It's a reminder that electoral reform is on the minds of many Americans, with polls consistently showing widespread dissatisfaction with the current arrangement.

One complaint that critics have lobbed against the current system is the possibility that the Electoral College winner won't reflect the winner of the popular vote as happened in 2000. Another is that the existing system means certain states are consistently flooded with attention from candidates while others are all but ignored.

Over the years, Gallup's polling has shown that large majorities favor doing away with the Electoral College. The aftermath of the 2012 election was no exception. A recent Gallup poll that showed more than six in ten would vote to get rid of it. There is remarkable consistency on the question among Republicans, Democrats, and independents:

A recent Quinnipiac University survey showed that voters were split over the question of whether states' electoral votes should be allocated on a winner-take-all basis, or by congressional district. Some Republicans have proposed switching to the latter system in key swing states.

So, it's clear people are open to change, in the form of either adjustments to the existing system or a complete overhaul. But that doesn't mean the current framework will be revamped any time soon, though. Doing that would be a dramatic step that could require involve a change to the Constitution (under at least one proposal, a Constitutional change would not be required). Only a major national groundswell and influential pols joining the call for change would spur such a development. So far, that simply hasn't happened.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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