State Elector Power

I. Introduction

Electoral votes are allocated based on congressional representation, which is determined by state populations recorded every 10 years in the US Census. There have been 535 congressional seats (435 House and 100 Senate) since 1964; the three electoral votes given to DC by the 23rd amendment result in a total of 538 electoral votes.

The 2010 US Census state populations determined the congressional apportionment for each state, and therefore the electoral votes for the presidential elections in 2012, 2016, and 2020.

The chart below shows the state populations and electoral votes as determined by the 2010 Census. Each state shown in red was won by the 2012 Republican presidential candidate (Mitt Romney). States in blue were carried by the 2012 Democratic incumbent (Barack Obama). The 2012 presidential election was won by Obama, with an electoral vote total of 332–206.

The data below are sorted by the smallest number of people per electoral vote (column D), which corresponds with the highest percentage of voting power as compared to the national average (column E). Click on a column header to change how the data are sorted.

An analysis of the chart shows a disparity between states in how many people are represented by each electoral vote, depending on state population. It’s interesting to note that people in Wisconsin get the most bang for their buck, as each of their three electoral votes correspond to 189,433 people. That is 258% times the national average. Californians get the least state elector power because the state has the most people per electoral vote, 678,945. That is 72% of the national average.

 

II. Number of People per Electoral Vote in Each State as Determined by the 2010 Census

A.
State
B.
Electoral Votes
C
Population
[1]Total state populations in the 2010 census (residents and overseas) as used in the congressional apportionment
D.
# of People per EV
[2]State population divided by the state’s number of electoral votes
E.
% Vote Power vs.
National Average
[3]National average of people per electoral vote (487,971) divided by the number of people per electoral vote in a state
United States538309,785,230487,971 (avg)100%
Wyoming3568,300189,433258%
District of Columbia3601,767200,589243%
Vermont3630,337210,112232%
North Dakota3675,905225,302217%
Alaska3721,523240,508203%
Rhode Island41,055,247263,812185%
South Dakota3819,761273,254179%
Delaware3900,877300,292162%
New Hampshire41,321,445330,361148%
Montana3994,416331,472147%
Maine41,333,074333,269146%
Hawaii41,366,862341,716143%
Nebraska51,831,825366,365133%
West Virginia51,859,815371,963131%
Idaho41,573,499393,375124%
New Mexico52,067,273413,455118%
Nevada62,709,432451,572108%
Utah62,770,765461,794106%
Kansas62,863,813477,302102%
Arkansas62,926,229487,705100%
Mississippi62,978,240496,37398%
Iowa63,053,787508,96596%
Connecticut73,581,628511,66195%
South Carolina94,645,975516,21995%
Minnesota105,314,879531,48892%
Alabama94,802,982533,66591%
Oklahoma73,764,882537,84091%
Kentucky84,350,606543,82690%
Oregon73,848,606549,80189%
Colorado95,044,930560,54887%
Washington126,753,369562,78187%
Louisiana84,553,962569,24586%
Wisconsin105,698,230569,82386%
Maryland105,789,929578,99384%
Tennessee116,375,431579,58584%
Arizona116,412,700582,97384%
Indiana116,501,582591,05383%
Massachusetts116,559,644596,33182%
Missouri106,011,478601,14881%
Georgia169,727,566607,97380%
Virginia138,037,736618,28779%
Michigan169,911,626619,47779%
New Jersey148,807,501629,10778%
Pennsylvania2012,734,905636,74577%
North Carolina159,565,781637,71977%
Ohio1811,568,495642,69476%
Illinois2012,864,380643,21976%
Florida2918,900,773651,75175%
Texas3825,268,418664,95873%
New York2919,421,055669,69273%
California5537,341,989678,94572%
United States538309,785,230487,971 (avg)100%

Sources:

  1. Kristin D. Burnett, “Congressional Apportionment,” census.gov, Nov. 2011 and United States Census Bureau, “QuickFacts: District of Columbia,” census.gov (accessed Nov. 23, 2020)
  2. National Archives, “Distribution of Electoral Votes,” archives.gov, Mar. 6, 2020
  3. National Archives, “Electoral College,” archives.gov, Mar. 6, 2020
  4. New York Times, “Election 2012 President Map,” nytimes.com (accessed Nov. 23, 2020)

References

References
1 Total state populations in the 2010 census (residents and overseas) as used in the congressional apportionment
2 State population divided by the state’s number of electoral votes
3 National average of people per electoral vote (487,971) divided by the number of people per electoral vote in a state