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Justin Fox

The Electoral College May Not Actually Help Smaller States

Think you know which kinds of voters have the most clout in the Electoral College? Don’t be so sure.

It’s more complicated than that.

It’s more complicated than that.

Photographer: Sarah Rice/Getty Images

On Sept. 9, 1970, Oklahoma Republican Henry Bellmon stood on the U.S. Senate floor and complained that the Electoral College worked to the disadvantage of less-populous states. His reasoning:

Nowadays California has 55 electoral votes and New York 29 (which adds up to one more than they together wielded in 1970), while Oklahoma has seven. The Electoral College seems to have become a lot more popular with Oklahoma Republicans, though! Getting rid of it, or circumventing it via a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, would reduce Americans outside of large metropolitan areas to “serfdom,” Trent England, executive vice president of the right-leaning Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, wrote in USA Today a couple of weeks ago. “The Electoral College requires more than just the most raw votes to win — it requires geographic balance,” England continued. “This helps to protect rural and small-town Americans.”