The Under-Representation of Minorities in the Electoral College System
The Electoral College system for selecting the U.S. president has created a situation where only a
handful of states are relevant on Election Day. Because of the winner-take-all system that
virtually every state uses for allocating their respective electoral votes, voters in swing states
such as Ohio and Virginia are more important to candidates during the campaign than voters in
non-swing states like New York and California. This paper addresses the extent to which the
demographic profile of voters in these important swing states differs from the demographic
profile of the nation as a whole and thereby the extent to which the demographic profile of the
electorate would differ under a popular vote system compared to the current Electoral College. It
finds most notably that minorities are significantly under-represented under the current Electoral
College system. The paper also finds that the following groups are under-represented by the
Electoral College: college-educated, religious, users of public transportation, renters, nonelderly,
those in poverty, and the uninsured.
Center for Voting and Democracy.
Presidential Tracker (2012)
New York Times. FiveThirtyEight’s
Gallup Analytics. Mississippi Most
Religious State, Vermont Least Religious
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College Works – And Why It Works
Spilerman, Seymour and David Dickens.
Who Will Gain and Who Will Lose under
Different Electoral Rules. American
Journal of Sociology, Vol. 80 No. 2
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