Would you want the Electoral College to be proportional by state?

First of all, assume we are not going to a popular vote across the country. And the National Popular Vote Compact is not in effect.
Second of all, feel free to make this about every state (& DC) or just your own.
Third of all, there are two states that are kind of proportional but not really - Nebraska and Maine.

A proportional vote would be assigning electors by the percentage that the candidates got so for example with 18 electoral votes and the following results
Jack Johnson (R): 48% = 9 EV
John Jackson (D): 45% = 8 EV
Looney McGee (L): 7% = 1 EV

Advantage: Every vote counts. Vote anything other than D in Cali or R in South Dakota and you might as well not vote. This leads to only a few states actually controlling the election. Also, we assume no popular vote so this is about the closest we could get.

Disadvantage: States lose power as now their electoral votes are not in a block. Also we would presume closer electoral vote totals so even a few third party EVs may throw the election into the House of Representatives for President and the Senate for Vice-President. This could lead to the top two executives being different parties.

I favor proportionality. I think that current demographics (like my CA and SD examples) disenfranchise voters for president. I also think that a lot of people may vote third party if knowing that their vote may count and with enough make that candidate a contender. Although in fairness there would need to be proportional representation in the House but that is a whole different issue.

If you’re gonna do this, might as well just dump the EV entirely because you’re just mirroring the popular vote anyway.

I suppose it’s closer to a national popular vote, but this still leaves a massive imbalance in how different state’s populations would impact the Presidential election. Because every state is guaranteed at least three electors and the House is capped at 435 Representatives. So Wyoming’s three electors would still represent about 195,000 people each while California’s 54 would represent 722,000 each. And yet each elector still gets one vote.

If every State did this, it would bring the EC closer into alignment with the popular vote (though not, as flurb points out, into perfect alignment), so that would be good. But if only some States do it, they would essentially lose their voice as their votes would always be split almost straight down the middle. AIUI, this would have to be a State-by-State decision, so game theory suggests no State is ever going to be willing to be the first to change. (You could do some workaround like the NPV, saying that the commitment to change isn’t binding until most States have made the commitment…but in that case, just doing the actual NPV seems much simpler).

As I’ve said before, I’m for removing the fixed size of the House and going to the Wyoming Rule where the size of a Congressional district is set to the total population of the lowest population state and reapportioned appropriately. The inclusion of the Senate in the EC still gives lower population states a bit more say in the Presidential vote while being less of an effect overall.

Sure, but it’s the States electing the President, not the people. That’s the piece that people seem to not understand, or overlook.

So by having proportional electors, we get about as reasonably close to the popular vote as possible without necessarily having to amend the Constitution to do so.

And I don’t think there’s any sort of game theory involved with the first mover; Nebraska and Maine have both had proportional electors for some time now. Other states just don’t like the idea, probably because they have a dominant party and like the idea of “winner takes all” with respect to their own party.

I’d be in favor of this, if nothing else that it would make the swing states irrelevant.

But if the Constitution is really being amended to be this way, we might as well ditch EC and shift entirely to popular vote.

If I understand the OP, it amounts to asking “would you favor the NPVC coming into effect?”

I certainly would. As pointed out upthread, that’s only a half-measure, and is just an attempt to (via legitimate legal processes) end-run the problem of an unalterable and fundamentally defective Constitution.

But it gets us closer to the same outcomes that true direct popular vote for president would. And that is something to be greatly wished for.

The NPVC is very different from what the OP is proposing. The NPVC would require participating states to award ALL of their electors to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide. So theoretically, if all states (and DC) joined the compact then all 538 electoral votes would go to the popular vote winner.

Making all states award their electors proportionate to the vote in their own states (and there is no way to make all states do this absent a Constitutional amendment) would likely make the electoral college vote much closer and still leaves the possibility that the popular vote winner could lose in the electoral college and/or that it would go to a contingent election in the House.

That’s why an assumption for this thread is no popular vote. The Constitution does not have to be amended to allow states to have proportional EVs. Just changes to state law.

Technically yes if ALL states were mandated to do it. But for individual states to do it, no amendment needed.

That is completely NOT what I was asking. I was asking if you think states should have proportional EVs

I only realized relatively recently–I guess in the first Obama election–that there were two states that assigned their electors this way as opposed to the other 48s’ method. Since then I’ve been very much in favor of it wish there were a way to make it the popular thing to do. It makes sense to me on every single possible level.

Ah, I utterly flubbed (not flurbed) that.

Now I understand how different the two proposals are.

ETA: I now see the OP has clarified his point about how this would be implemented. Which seems legally and conceptually sensible / doable. Politically is perhaps another matter.

So my own quibble w you on that point is moot and un-posted.

Actually it is not proportional at all for those states. The top vote receiver gets 2 EVs even if it is 49.0% to 48.9% and each congressional district awards its EV to the top vote getter.

It’s an interesting idea but completely bonkers unless every state does it. Leave it up to individual states, and I’d predict:

  • Blue states: We’re in favor of a more representative democracy, so yes, let’s award EC votes proportionally.
  • Red states: Fuck no. We’re a republic, not a democracy.
  • Purple states. Nah – we like all the attention every four years.

So you’d have millions of California and New York Republican votes counting toward electing the president while still effectively nullifying millions of Democratic voters in Texas and Florida.

I think it would work well in a state like Colorado that is roughly 42% D, 41% R, 17% 3rd party or unaffiliated.

Work well for that state. And yes, it would help 3rd-party voters (and candidates) nationwide. But unless every state adopted it, I predict it would massively tilt the scales for the GOP candidate.

Yup, it’s a tragedy of the commons: It’s to everyone’s advantage for everyone to do this, but it’s to nobody’s advantage to do it when nobody else is, so it doesn’t happen. Tragedies of the commons should be resolved by some overarching government mandating it for everyone, but since we live in a nation that’s designed to be dysfunctional, that’s not going to happen, either.

Nebraska and Maine are, I’ll admit, weird. But they both have few enough electors that it’s hardly ever been an issue for either.

Not only that, but it gives even more incentive to gerrymander districts.

Here’s a novel idea:*

UNCAP THE HoR (and the EC)!

*DISCLAIMER:: idea may not actually be novel. Void in Nebraska, parts of Idaho, and where prohibited.