The idea that the Electoral College somehow protects the interests of the smaller more rural states as compared to the bigger more urban states may (or may not) have been true in 1776, but it was definitely a myth which was no longer true by the mid-20th century. What the electoral college actually does is force presidential candidates to concentrate on the so-called “swing states”, whether large or small. Candidates in the past 5 elections have spent over 80% of both their time and their money in 10 states, to the detriment of all other voters in all of the other 40 states.
The following quotes are from the Valparaiso University Law Review, published in the Spring 1977 (50 years ago) in an article titled The Electoral College: An Enigma in a Democratic Society.
On page 4: “The most dangerous of the defects of the electoral college is the winner-take-all or unit rule. A consequence of the unit rule is that it discourages the minority in a one-party state. Where there is no hope of carrying a state, there is little reason for the members of the losing party to turn out. The majority party on the other hand also has little incentive to increase its turnout. This certainly accounts in part for the poor voter participation in the United States. Perhaps most importantly, the unit rule means that all votes are not equally important. A voter in Indiana, for example, has an opportunity to swing 13 electoral votes; a voter in New York can theoretically produce 41. The consequence of this factor is to inflate the voting power of voters in the handful of large, closely contested states where blocs of electoral votes can be won on the basis of narrow popular vote margin.”
On page 10: “The question of whether the small states have in fact been favored by the electoral college system is one which is still hotly debated, although the growing weight of evidence points unequivocally to the conclusion that any advantage accruing to the small states by virtue of the initial two votes is soon dissipated by virtue of the effect of the unit rule. In other words, the potential which any voter in a large electoral vote state such as New York, has to affect the outcome of the election, easily outweighs the simple mathematical disadvantage of having more voters per number of electoral college members than would have a voter in one of the smallest states. This conclusion, reached by electoral scholars in the 1960’s,”3 has been buttressed and documented by empirical analyses of political scientists and economists in the 1970’s.”
In addition, there is a recently published new book which updates the data and makes many of the same points, titled The Rules of the Game: A New Electoral System by Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen. Eric Maskin teaches economics and mathematics at Harvard. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2007. Amartya Sen teaches economics and philosophy at Harvard. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1998. You can find a review of this book here.
Bottom line — the Electoral College no longer fulfills any of its original purposes, and it therefore needs to be eliminated. PLEASE SUPPORT THE CAUSE by making a donation. The amount doesn’t matter – what we need to make this happen are millions of supporters. Thank you.