Here's what would happen if every state split its electoral votes (interactive)

By Chris Wilson

The outrage wholesaler known as the Virginia legislature—thepeople who brought you the transvaginal ultrasound—considered legislation thisweek to allotthe state’s 13 electoral votes to the winning presidential candidate in each of the state’s congressionaldistricts, rather than to the overall winner of the statewide vote. The bill diedin committee, but you can expect to hear about this idea a few more times.National Journal’s Reid Wilson reported in December that severalRepublican-controlled states that voted for President Barack Obama areconsidering a similar policy.

Two states, Maine and Nebraska, already split theirelectoral votes this way, and the primary effect is to aggravate those of uswho make election maps for a living. The states currently have two and threemembers of the House of Representatives, respectively, and tend to reliablyelect Democratic and Republican candidates and presidents, also respectively.(Obama snagged one of those Nebraska electors in 2008, which was uncommon.)

Virginia is a different story.  Even as the state has gone from reliably Republican tohighly competitive, Republicans dominate the House delegation. There is asimple explanation: The state is highly gerrymandered, withthe Democratic base concentrated into a few districts.

It would be highly unfair for only a few states to adoptthis system, but one might think it would work out OK if every state were to splitits electoral votes this way. In fact, the way congressional districts arepresently drawn, a national tally of congressional districts would often beeven less fair than if just a few states did it.

In the following interactive, you can see how the 2000, 2004and 2008 elections would have played out if each state had split its electoralvotes. (Because not all states report their election results by district, itwill be awhile before we have reliable 2012 figures.)

The 2000 election is particularly striking: George W. Bushlost the popular vote but comes out with 62 more electoral votes than Al Gore.(This assumes you award each state’s extra two electors by the winner of thepopular vote in each state, though you can try it by the winner of the most congressionaldistricts as well, as the Virginia law proposed.)

In all cases, the split system benefits Republicans, thoughnot always unfairly. The 2008 election, divided this way, produces a resultthat much more closely resembles the popular vote than the state-by-stateresults do.

That’s assuming, however, that your definition of “fair” insome way encompasses the idea that the winner of the popular vote should winthe election. In fact, efforts to undermine the popular vote are as old as thecountry. The most notable example is the Senate, which awards equal power toWyoming (population 576,412) andCalifornia (population 38,041,430).

In essence, the entire country is gerrymandered along statelines. Traditionally Democratic voters are concentrated in smaller regions thathave a disproportionately small presence in the electoral college, given thateven the sparsest states get a minimum of three electoral votes.

I am strongly in favor of redistricting the country, stateborder by state border. In the interim, any effort to allot presidentialelectors by congressional district will increase the likelihood that a man orwoman will once again win the highest office without winning the most votes.

  • NYSE stocks posting largest percentage increases

    A look at the 10 biggest percentage gainers on New York Stock Exchange at 1 p.m.: CHC Group Ltd. rose 12.0 percent to $6.93. TravelCenters Am rose 9.2 percent to $10.63. Salesforce.com Inc. rose 8.4 percent ...

  • Jury rejects oil spill claim against Enbridge

    A Michigan jury on Thursday rejected two men's claims that Enbridge Inc. should compensate them for what they say are losses because of a 2010 oil pipeline spill into the Kalamazoo River system. The Calhoun ...

  • Refracking brings 'vintage' oil and gas wells to life
    Refracking brings 'vintage' oil and gas wells to life

    Hydraulic fracturing, which has upended global energy markets by lifting U.S. Canada's Encana Corp invested $2 million to refrack two wells in Louisiana's Haynesville shale formation earlier this year, after seeing its production in the area dip 27 percent from 2012 levels.     "There were a significant number of wells that we considered understimulated," said David Martinez, Encana's senior manager for Haynesville development.     Using minuscule plastic balls, known as diverting agents, pumped at high speeds with water into the old wells, most of which are three to five years old, Encana blocked some the older fractures, or cracks.     "The thought is that the diverting agent will go to the cracks with the least amount of pressure," bypassing cracks with higher pressure and boosting the pressure of the entire well so output climbs, Martinez said.     He said the process can't be as precisely controlled as an initial round of hydraulic fracturing, in which water, chemicals and sand into are blasted into rock to unlock oil and gas.

  • 61-foot-tall rubber duck turns Port of L.A. into giant bathtub
    61-foot-tall rubber duck turns Port of L.A. into giant bathtub

    What's being billed as the world's largest rubber duck sailed into the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday to promote the city's Tall Ships Festival.

  • Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt
    Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

    Four firefighters were injured — two seriously — when a fire truck's ladder got too close to a power line after they helped college students take part in an ice bucket challenge, police said Thursday.

  • Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border
    Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border

    By Natalia Zinets and Dmitry Madorsky KIEV/DONETSK-IZVARINO BORDER CROSSING Russia (Reuters) - The United States demanded Russia withdraw its equipment and personnel from Ukraine after Moscow sent in a convoy of trucks on Friday in what Kiev called a "direct invasion". NATO said Russian troops had been firing artillery across the border and within Ukraine in a major escalation of military support for pro-Moscow rebels since mid-August, a defacto charge that Russia was waging war on its former Soviet neighbour. Moscow, which has thousands of troops close to the Russian side of the border, warned against any attempt to "disrupt" what it said was a purely humanitarian operation; Pentagon press secretary accused Russia of violating Ukraine's sovereignty.

  • Pet owners warned after plague — PLAGUE! — confirmed in Colorado
    Pet owners warned after plague — PLAGUE! — confirmed in Colorado

    Health officials in Colorado have issued a warning to residents in Boulder County that the bubonic plague has been found in fleas taken from a deserted prairie dog.

  • Hottest Trainer 2014: Hottest Trainer Contestant #8: Megan Johnson
    Hottest Trainer 2014: Hottest Trainer Contestant #8: Megan Johnson

    Images via Raquel Zaldivar No one struts it down a slackline like Megan Johnson, our final Hottest Trainer contestant. Not only is she the co-founder of Slacroduo, a fitness brand she created with...

Follow Yahoo! News

Loading...