States where individual voters have the most impact on the Electoral College

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October 21, 2020
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States where individual voters have the most impact on the Electoral College

Considering the importance of the Electoral College system in American politics and elections, it's remarkable that not everyone—in fact far from everyone—understands it.

When U.S. voters select a president, they vote for a slate of electors in each state. The winning slate casts its votes in the Electoral College to pick the president. The Electoral College has 538 electors, from all the states and the District of Columbia. The winning candidate needs a majority of 270 or more. States get the same number of electors as they have members of Congress—one for each senator and each member of the House—so they have a minimum of three. States with bigger populations have more electoral votes, but the Electoral College system does not represent each voter equally.

If the electoral votes were divided up by population, for example, each one would represent about 607,000 people. But under the current system, an electoral vote in Wyoming represents about 193,000 people, while in California it represents more than 700,000 people. Put another way, Wyoming comprises 0.18% of the nation’s population and yet has 0.56% of the electoral votes—more than three times as many as its population size would merit.

Stacker compiled 2020 Electoral College data from the U.S. National Archives Distribution of Electoral Votes and 2019 population data from the U.S. Census Bureau ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates to determine which states’ voters have a larger Electoral College advantage. This is determined by first calculating the percentage of current electoral votes in the state of all 538 electoral votes. Then Stacker looked at the total state population and the total voter-eligible population—18+ and a citizen—and determined each population’s share out of the total U.S. population and U.S. voter-eligible population, respectively. Finally, that share was calculated out of the 538 electoral votes and the gap was mapped between the actual electoral votes and the ones adjusted for population.

The Electoral College system was created at America’s 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. According to historians and scholars, it was a compromise between having Congress or voters select the president. The Founding Fathers thought voters would not be well enough informed, but having Congress pick the chief executive would violate the government’s separations of power. Some also argue that it was designed to protect the interests of states practicing slavery that had smaller voting populations than states in the North.

More than 200 years later, the system still draws controversy and criticism.

Opponents say it lures presidential candidates to a few battleground states and does not represent the will of the people. Both George W. Bush and Donald Trump won the presidency through the Electoral College without winning the popular vote. Some Democrats also say it favors rural, Republican states.

Defenders say that without it, presidential candidates would focus on wooing voters in highly populated states like New York, California, and Texas, and skip over nearly all the small and rural states.

Some critics want to move to a popular vote, cutting out the middleman altogether. Another option is the National Popular Vote, in which a state’s electors cast their votes in the Electoral College for the winner of the national popular vote. The idea has the support of 15 states and the District of Columbia, but needs states accounting for 270 electoral votes to proceed.

How electors can vote was a question answered by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. Most states have so-called loyalty laws obligating electors to vote in the Electoral College for the candidate they pledged to support. The highest court this year ruled that yes, such laws are constitutional.

After the Nov. 3 election, the number of electoral votes will be reallocated based on 2020 census results, which will be used to calculate how many seats in the House of Representatives each state gets. So the impacts of states on the Electoral College will look different the next time the nation’s voters choose their federal lawmakers and their president.

The following list is ranked according to the gap between current Electoral College votes and electoral votes when proportional to state population. Ties are broken by the current Electoral College votes, and further ties are marked as such. Since each state has a minimum of three electoral votes regardless of size, small states tend to have an advantage, since one electoral vote represents fewer people in those states than it does in a large state such as California or Texas.

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#51. Texas

- Current Electoral College votes: 38 (7.06% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 28,995,881 (8.83% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 48 (10 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 18,875,542 (8.02% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 43 (5 more than current electoral votes)

Voters in Texas, statistically, have the least impact on the Electoral College, given that the state would have 10 more electors if the system were population-based. To illustrate, the population of Texas is roughly equal to the combined populations of Alaska, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Yet those states combined have 63 electoral votes, while Texas has 38 such votes. But the state could gain three electoral votes in the next redistricting due to its significant population growth.

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#50. California

- Current Electoral College votes: 55 (10.22% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 39,512,223 (12.04% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 65 (10 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 26,032,160 (11.06% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 59 (4 more than current electoral votes)

Running a close second to Texas in Electoral College representation, California would have 10 more votes if the system were based upon population. Looking ahead, California has been losing population, and it potentially could lose a seat in the House of Representatives in the pending redistricting. That would mean it loses an electoral vote as well.

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#49. Florida

- Current Electoral College votes: 29 (5.39% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 21,477,737 (6.54% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 35 (6 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 15,507,315 (6.59% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 35 (6 more than current electoral votes)

The imbalance of Florida’s influence in the Electoral College could be rectified a bit in the redrawing of congressional districts based on the 2020 census. A growing population points to the possibility of the Sunshine State adding a House seat, if not two, and thus additional electoral clout as well.

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#48. New York

- Current Electoral College votes: 29 (5.39% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 19,453,561 (5.93% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 32 (3 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 13,810,830 (5.87% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 32 (3 more than current electoral votes)

New York stands to lose a congressional seat and electoral vote in the redistricting. It has no law governing faithless electors who switch votes. Advocates who want to change the Electoral College system point to states like New York. They argue that not only are presidential campaign events concentrated in swing states, but states like New York are ignored altogether. They say that the existing winner-take-all system in most states of choosing electors means candidates overlook states where they are clearly ahead or behind.

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#47. North Carolina

- Current Electoral College votes: 15 (2.79% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 10,488,084 (3.20% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 17 (2 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 7,729,644 (3.28% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 18 (3 more than current electoral votes)

North Carolina could make some progress after 2020 in redressing the share of its influence on the Electoral College. Its increasing population means it could gain a House seat in the pending congressional redistricting, giving it another Electoral College vote as well. North Carolina is one of the states where, by law, electors must vote for the candidate as designated at the ballot box or they must resign.

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#46. Arizona

- Current Electoral College votes: 11 (2.04% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 7,278,717 (2.22% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 12 (1 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,137,474 (2.18% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 12 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Arizona’s 11 electoral votes are a nice catch, and in 2020 both parties have been eyeing those votes as possibilities. The state was a Republican stronghold for years, but its population has changed with immigration and an increased number of Latinos and other people of color. In 2016, Republican Donald Trump got less than a third of the state’s Latino vote. The state is expected to gain another House seat, and electoral vote, in the next redistricting.

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#45. Virginia

- Current Electoral College votes: 13 (2.42% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 8,535,519 (2.60% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 14 (1 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 6,226,623 (2.64% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 14 (1 more than current electoral votes)

In Virginia, its lower House of Delegates earlier this year passed a bill that would grant its 13 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. But the bid failed to progress in the state’s Senate. By law, Virginia’s electors must cast their votes for the candidate they pledged to support.

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#44. New Jersey

- Current Electoral College votes: 14 (2.60% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 8,882,190 (2.71% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 15 (1 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 6,170,130 (2.62% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 14 (0 more than current electoral votes)

Electors in New Jersey could change their votes as there is no law governing such a move. While New Jersey would, under a population-based system, deserve another electoral vote, the state is not expected to see any changes in the redistricting. While it’s not a particularly significant way of measuring electoral influence, New Jersey reportedly has the most electoral votes per square mile of any state except Rhode Island. It was the second state to sign onto the campaign for allowing electors to throw their votes to the winner of the national popular vote, an effort that advocates say would make candidates campaign more widely rather than concentrate on a few battleground states.

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#43. Georgia

- Current Electoral College votes: 16 (2.97% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 10,617,423 (3.23% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 17 (1 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 7,581,837 (3.22% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 17 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Georgia is slightly underrepresented in the Electoral College, where it would have another vote if the tallies were based on state or eligible-voter population. Due to its steadily growing population, the Southern state has added at least one electoral vote in every one of the past three reapportionments. Electors in Georgia are not required to vote for their pledged candidate. Georgia numbers among the states that do not have a faithless elector law, meaning electors face no penalty for switching their votes.

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#42. Ohio

- Current Electoral College votes: 18 (3.35% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 11,689,100 (3.56% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 19 (1 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 8,879,469 (3.77% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 20 (2 more than current electoral votes)

Ohio electoral voters face no penalty if they do not vote for their pledged candidate in the Electoral College. The state is expected to lose one of its 16 congressional seats in the pending redistricting, hence it would lose an electoral vote as well.

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#40. Illinois (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 20 (3.72% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 12,671,821 (3.86% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 21 (1 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 9,088,036 (3.86% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 21 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Like a half dozen other U.S. states, Illinois would fare better and gain an electoral vote if the system were based on population. It has no law regarding the obligation of its electors to vote for their pledged candidates. Having had one of the nation’s biggest population declines in the past decade, the state is predicted to lose a congressional seat, and thus an electoral vote, in the next redistricting.

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#40. Pennsylvania (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 20 (3.72% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 12,801,989 (3.90% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 21 (1 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 9,810,201 (4.17% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 22 (2 more than current electoral votes)

Pennsylvania has 18 congressional districts, but it is expected to lose one after the 2020 census redistricting, giving it one less electoral vote. Its electors are not bound by law to back their pledged candidate. It was thrust into a recent controversy over whether Republican-controlled legislatures might choose slates of electors and override a popular vote tally if the ballot counting was questionable. The head of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party raised the possibility in comments to the media that prompted heated debate over whether such a move would amount to lawmakers handpicking their party’s candidate.

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#39. Oregon

- Current Electoral College votes: 7 (1.30% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 4,217,737 (1.28% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 7 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,162,204 (1.34% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 7 (0 more than current electoral votes)

Oregon requires its electors to vote for their pledged candidate, but does not wield a penalty if they do otherwise. Last year, the state joined the National Popular Vote compact of states that want to grant their electoral votes to the national popular winner who may not be the candidate chosen by state voters. The proposed change would not take effect until more states sign on. The compact is supported largely by Democratic states like Oregon, which has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984.

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#38. Louisiana

- Current Electoral College votes: 8 (1.49% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 4,648,794 (1.42% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 8 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,463,372 (1.47% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 8 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)

Louisiana is one of just a half dozen states where its impact on the Electoral College would not change if the electors were proportional to its statewide or voting-eligible population. The status quo is not expected to change with redistricting following the 2020 census. The slates of electors are chosen by a plurality vote. If there were a tie for the most votes, the Board of Election would hold a public drawing of lots at the state capitol. Louisiana has no laws governing how electors must vote or what happens to so-called faithless electors.

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#37. Colorado

- Current Electoral College votes: 9 (1.67% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 5,758,736 (1.75% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 9 (0 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,244,210 (1.80% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 10 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Colorado voters have approved a measure that would change its system so that its electoral votes would go to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide, the position of advocates who want to limit the influence of the Electoral College. The measure was passed with the support of Colorado’s Democratic legislature and governor and not with the support of its Republicans, who defended the current system as benefiting Colorado and other rural states. Colorado is likely to add a House seat, and electoral vote, in the next redistricting.

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#34. Wisconsin (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 10 (1.86% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 5,822,434 (1.77% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 10 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,412,888 (1.87% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 10 (0 more than current electoral votes)

In Wisconsin, under state law, the vote of a faithless elector is allowed to stand. State election officials have publicly dismissed the idea that its Republican-controlled legislature could step in and chose a slate of electors to override the popular vote. The idea had been floated as a tactic in battleground states. But state law does not allow Wisconsin lawmakers the authority to pick electors, election officials have said. Any change would require approval by the legislature, which has not met since April, and could be vetoed by the governor, who is a Democrat.

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#34. Maryland (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 10 (1.86% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 6,045,680 (1.84% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 10 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,316,921 (1.83% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 10 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)

Maryland’s state law allows the vote of a faithless elector to count. In 2007, it joined the campaign in favor of having its electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote. Last year, a bill was introduced in the state Senate that would apply Maryland’s 10 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, so long as a red state with the same number of electoral votes did the same. The sponsor of the bill argued that if states that voted for Hillary Clinton and those that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 paired up, it would hasten a change to electing the president by popular vote.

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#34. Missouri (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 10 (1.86% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 6,137,428 (1.87% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 10 (0 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,650,318 (1.98% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 11 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Missouri essentially breaks even in its impact on the Electoral College, with its votes reflecting its population. That is likely to remain the case following the pending redistricting. One opponent of the existing system is a Missouri elector who is pledged to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden. The Democratic elector in a newspaper column in mid-October called the Electoral College an obsolete relic, writing, “I’ve been admitted to a college that I wish didn’t exist.”

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#31. Indiana (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 11 (2.04% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 6,732,219 (2.05% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 11 (0 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,978,356 (2.11% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 11 (0 more than current electoral votes)

Indiana carries no legal penalty for electors who do not back their pledged candidate, although the vote would be discarded and the elector replaced. A bill advocating that Indiana move to the system of allowing electors to back the winner of the national popular vote was introduced in the state Senate last year. Opponents argued such a move would marginalize Indiana and other small states because national campaigns would focus their efforts on large population centers.

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#31. Tennessee (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 11 (2.04% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 6,829,174 (2.08% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 11 (0 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,129,580 (2.18% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 12 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Tennessee’s impact on the Electoral College is essentially equivalent to the influence it would have if the system were population-based. The state is not expected to gain or lose any electors in the redistricting. Tennessee law obligates electors to vote as pledged, but if they do not, there is no penalty and their rogue vote counts as cast.

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#31. Massachusetts (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 11 (2.04% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 6,892,503 (2.10% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 11 (0 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,057,192 (2.15% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 12 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Massachusetts’ impact on the Electoral College has dropped over the past century. Since the 1920s, the state has lost a third of its electoral votes, down to 11 from 18. No change is expected in the number of electors in Massachusetts in the pending 2021 redistricting, when it will likely keep its nine congressional districts.

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#30. Washington

- Current Electoral College votes: 12 (2.23% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 7,614,893 (2.32% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 12 (0 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,409,035 (2.30% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 12 (0 more than current electoral votes)

Washington and its electors were at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case decided this year that allowed states to obligate their electors to vote for the presidential candidate chosen by the voters. On the losing side of the case were three Washington faithless electors who in 2016 cast their ballots for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and not Hillary Clinton as they were obligated. It was part of an effort to get Republican voters to consider a candidate other than Donald Trump and also to buoy arguments against the Electoral College. They were each fined $1,000 and went to court. Eventually the high court ruled that states do have authority over electors and how they vote.

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#29. Michigan

- Current Electoral College votes: 16 (2.97% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 9,986,857 (3.04% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 16 (0 more than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 7,562,464 (3.21% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 17 (1 more than current electoral votes)

Michigan is poised to lose influence in the Electoral College in the coming redistricting, when it is expected to lose an electoral vote due to an estimated population decline. Under state law, electors are bound to vote for their pledged candidate. But if they don’t, there is no penalty, the vote is canceled, and the elector replaced.

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#27. Delaware (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 973,764 (0.30% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 2 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 725,178 (0.31% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 2 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

Delaware, which has just the minimum number of Electoral College votes, backed a measure last year to alter its system so that those votes will go to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. Advocates of such a change say it would avert the situation in which a candidate wins the popular vote but not the Electoral College vote, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did in 2016. Delaware’s electors are required to vote as pledged, but there is no penalty if they do not, and their vote counts.

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#27. Montana (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,068,778 (0.33% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 2 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 831,760 (0.35% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 2 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

Montana is one of seven states with just a lone representative in the House, but it is expected to gain a House seat and electoral vote in the next redistricting, given its population boom. It has a so-called Faithless Elector Law, which says if an elector votes for someone other than the pledged candidate, the vote is canceled and the elector is replaced.

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#26. Idaho

- Current Electoral College votes: 4 (0.74% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,787,065 (0.54% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 3 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,282,630 (0.54% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 3 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

Idaho’s impact on the Electoral College is outsized, compared with its population. But its impact has declined over the past 100 years. It has had the same number of electoral votes—four—since 1912, when its population was just 359,000. Today, those electors cast votes for a population of 1.787 million.

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#20. Kansas (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 6 (1.12% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 2,913,314 (0.89% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,103,748 (0.89% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

With population growth that has not kept pace with the rest of the country, Kansas has seen its impact on the Electoral College decline since the end of the 19th century. It had 10 electoral votes at its peak, now down to six. That number is not expected to change in the next redistricting. Because Kansas has no penalty for electors who switch their vote, in 2016, members of the Republican slate said they got an onslaught of tens of thousands of emails after the general election, which Donald Trump carried in Kansas, urging them to vote for any number of alternatives.

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#20. Mississippi (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 6 (1.12% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 2,976,149 (0.91% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,246,323 (0.95% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

More than any other state since World War II, Mississippi’s electoral votes have gone three times to third-party candidates. Splitting with the national Democratic Party over civil rights, Mississippi chose the States’ Rights Party and Sen. Strom Thurmond in 1948, Sen. Harry Byrd in 1960, and the American Independent Party with segregationist candidate George Wallace in 1968. With tepid population growth, Mississippi lost an electoral vote after the 2000 census, dropping to six, its lowest number of electors in more than 150 years.

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#20. Arkansas (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 6 (1.12% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 3,017,804 (0.92% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,235,415 (0.95% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

With more impact on the Electoral College than its population would merit, Arkansas is seen keeping the same number of electors in the next reapportionment. But its impact on the Electoral College has dwindled since the start of the 20th century, when it had nine electors. It dropped to eight in 1952 and to six in 1964.

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#20. Nevada (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 6 (1.12% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 3,080,156 (0.94% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,111,932 (0.90% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

Under state law in Nevada, if an elector fails to vote for a pledged candidate, the vote is canceled and the elector is replaced. Last year, its Democratic governor vetoed a measure that called for the state to join others in awarding their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The governor argued that smaller states like Nevada would lose influence under such a system.

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#20. Iowa (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 6 (1.12% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 3,155,070 (0.96% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,348,787 (1.00% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

Iowa may have more impact upon the Electoral College than it would under a population-based system, but its impact has dropped dramatically in less than a century. In the early 1900s, Iowa had 13 electoral votes, more than twice the number it has today. It lost an electoral vote most recently after the 2010 census. The state does manage to wield significant impact on the nation’s process of choosing its president, nonetheless, by holding the opening round in the parties’ nominating process with its caucus every four years.

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#20. Utah (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 6 (1.12% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 3,205,958 (0.98% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,134,249 (0.91% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 5 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

With a population boom at the start of the 21st century, Utah gained an electoral vote following the 2010 census. It now has twice as many electoral votes as it did when it became a state in 1896. It is expected to keep its same number of seats, however, after the 2020 census.

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#18. Connecticut (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 7 (1.30% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 3,565,287 (1.09% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 6 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,619,474 (1.11% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 6 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)

Connecticut is one of the few states with outsized impact on the Electoral College that is not rural or located in the South, West, or Midwest. But it had its high of nine votes in the early 1800s and had eight votes for most of the 1900s. In 2018, its governor signed a measure calling for its electoral voters to throw their weight behind the winner of the popular vote nationwide. The governor applauded the measure as remedying a situation in which voters from sparsely populated states have more clout than those in states like Connecticut.

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#18. Oklahoma (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 7 (1.30% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 3,956,971 (1.21% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 6 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,875,059 (1.22% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 7 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)

Oklahoma’s impact on the Electoral College is far smaller than it was a century ago. Today its seven electoral votes represent a state with about 4 million people. In 1907, when it became a state, it had the same number of electoral votes but only about 1.4 million people.

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#17. Kentucky

- Current Electoral College votes: 8 (1.49% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 4,467,673 (1.36% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 7 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,367,502 (1.43% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 8 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)

Kentucky has the fewest number of electoral votes now than it has since the late 1700s. At its peak, the state had nearly twice as many votes—15—in the early 1800s. It is not expected to add or lose any electoral clout in the reapportionment.

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#15. Alabama (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 9 (1.67% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 4,903,185 (1.49% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 8 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,731,336 (1.58% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 9 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)

The balance of influence in the Electoral College could even out for Alabama in the next redistricting. Its population decline puts it on track to lose a congressional seat and therefore an electoral vote. The state requires its electors to vote as pledged, but state law does not have a penalty in the event that they do not, and their votes will count regardless.

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#15. South Carolina (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 9 (1.67% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 5,148,714 (1.57% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 8 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,892,341 (1.65% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 9 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)

South Carolina, enjoying a growing population, added a vote to its Electoral College power following the 2010 census. It enjoyed a peak of 11 electoral votes, three more than it has now, in the first half of the 18th century. Under South Carolina state law, an elector who does not vote for the pledged candidate can face criminal penalties.

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#14. Minnesota

- Current Electoral College votes: 10 (1.86% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 5,639,632 (1.72% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 9 (1 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,157,556 (1.77% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 10 (0 fewer than current electoral votes)

Minnesota is seen losing an electoral vote in the next redistricting, when it will likely lose a House seat. Electors who do not back their pledged candidate face no penalty, although their vote is canceled and the elector would be replaced. In 2016, a so-called faithless elector broke his pledge to vote for Hillary Clinton, who won the state’s popular vote, and instead voted for Bernie Sanders.

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#8. Wyoming (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 578,759 (0.18% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 434,852 (0.18% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

Wyoming, with scarcely more than a half million people, enjoys three times the influence it would have on the Electoral College if it were meted out by population. In fact, Wyoming has the smallest population of all the U.S. states. Its number of electoral votes has been the same since it became a state in 1890.

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#8. Vermont (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 623,989 (0.19% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 498,705 (0.21% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

Vermont is one of seven states that has just one congressional district, so it has the minimum number of votes in the Electoral College. In 2011, it became the eighth state in the country to adopt a measure granting its electoral votes go to the winner of the nationwide winner of the popular vote, and not necessarily to the candidate chosen by state voters. By law, Vermont electors must vote for their pledged candidate, but there is no penalty if they do not and their vote is counted.

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#8. Washington D.C. (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 705,749 (0.22% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 536,768 (0.23% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

The District of Columbia only got its electoral votes under the Constitution’s 23rd Amendment in 1961. It was limited to no more electors than those of the least populated state, meaning three. In the more than 50 years that D.C. has had electoral votes, a Republican has never won one.

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#8. Alaska (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 731,545 (0.22% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 533,151 (0.23% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

Alaska has had the same number of electoral votes—three—in every election since it became a state in 1960. That number is not expected to change in the next reapportionment. Alaska’s electors are by law obligated to vote for their pledged candidate, but they face no penalty if they change their votes.

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#8. North Dakota (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 762,062 (0.23% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 567,545 (0.24% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

North Dakota has the minimum of three electoral votes, and with its sparse population, it is not expected to add to those following the 2020 census. It had two more electoral votes in the early 1900s than it does now.

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#8. South Dakota (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 3 (0.56% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 884,659 (0.27% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 653,394 (0.28% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 1 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

With 0.27% of the nation’s population and 0.56% of the Electoral College votes, South Dakota in essence has twice as much impact than its population would call for. But the state has fewer electoral votes than it has had anytime in its history. It dropped to its current three electoral votes, the minimum, following the 1980 census.

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#4. Rhode Island (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 4 (0.74% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,059,361 (0.32% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 800,798 (0.34% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

The nation’s smallest state stands to lose one of its four Electoral College votes in the next redistricting due to its relatively slow population growth. Such a demotion in influence would leave it with just the minimum of three electoral votes. State law does not cover electors who fail to vote for their pledged candidate.

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#4. Maine (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 4 (0.74% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,344,212 (0.41% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,078,770 (0.46% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

Maine is one of just two states, along with Nebraska, that do not use the winner-take-all system for choosing its electors. Instead, it splits its four electoral votes, with two going to the winner of the statewide popular vote and one each going to its two congressional districts. This year it will be the first state to use ranked-choice voting, in which voters rank candidates by preference. If no candidate gets a majority of first-choice votes, a new count eliminates the candidate who fared worst, and that candidate’s support is redistributed to the second-choice pick. The process continues until a candidate has a majority of votes.

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#4. New Hampshire (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 4 (0.74% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,359,711 (0.41% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,070,215 (0.45% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

New Hampshire has had the same number of electoral votes—four—that it has had since 1884, nearly 150 years ago. But then, the state had a population of less than 400,000. Today it has more than three times as many residents, with the same number of electoral votes.

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#4. Hawaii (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 4 (0.74% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,415,872 (0.43% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,014,035 (0.43% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 2 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

Electoral College dramas have found a stage in Hawaii. In 2016, its four electors were obligated to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won the state’s popular vote. But one so-called faithless elector cast his vote instead for Bernie Sanders, who had lost in the primaries. His vote stood, as Hawaiian law has no penalty for rogue electors. In 1960, the first presidential election in which Hawaii participated as a state, initial results showed Vice President Richard Nixon won the islands. But the vote was so close that a recount was held, and both Republican and Democratic slates were sent to the Electoral College. A court ruled in favor of the Democrats, and Hawaii’s electoral votes went to Sen. John F. Kennedy.

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#1. West Virginia (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 5 (0.93% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,792,147 (0.55% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 3 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,420,289 (0.60% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 3 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

West Virginia, which punches above its weight in terms of Electoral College impact, is one of 10 states that is expected to lose an electoral vote based on the 2020 Census findings. The state has no state law regarding electors that may not vote for their pledged candidate.

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#1. Nebraska (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 5 (0.93% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 1,934,408 (0.59% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 3 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,388,950 (0.59% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 3 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

Nebraska is tied with New Mexico for having the most impact on the Electoral College based on the size of its population. With Maine, it is one of two states that distributes its electoral votes rather than employ a winner-take-all system. Nebraska allocates two electoral votes to the winner of the state’s popular vote winner and the other three electoral votes are divided among its three congressional districts. The system resulted in a split in 2008, when Barack Obama won the congressional district of Omaha and its suburbs, earning the first Democratic electoral vote in Nebraska since 1964.

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#1. New Mexico (tie)

- Current Electoral College votes: 5 (0.93% of all allocated votes)
- Total state population: 2,096,829 (0.64% of total U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to state population: 3 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,522,171 (0.65% of total eligible U.S. population)
--- If electoral votes were proportional to voting-eligible population: 3 (2 fewer than current electoral votes)

Despite New Mexico’s leading position in terms of electoral vote influence, state voters approved a measure last year to give its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, a campaign that would trim the power of the Electoral College system. But experts say such a sweeping change could require congressional approval before it takes effect and would face a host of legal challenges as well.

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