How the Electoral College Works: the Fictional Country of Artesia

The imaginary nation of Artesia has a history similar to the United States. It was originally three independent countries: North Artesia, Central Artesia, and South Artesia. But after many years of separation, the three nations agree to unite and elect a single federal government. Each of the countries became a state, with one million voters in each.

Their first election pitted Nathan North vs. Suzie South, and the results were quite controversial:

 

Nathan North

Suzie South

North Artesia

  730,000 votes

  270,000 votes

Central Artesia

  400,000

  600,000

South Artesia

  400,000

  600,000

TOTAL

1,530,000

1,470,000

Nathan is declared the winner, with 51% of the total vote. But he lost in 2 of the 3 states, and by pretty big margins.

Four years later, Artesia holds its next election. This time, they decide to use a divided election, similar to the US Electoral College. Under this system, the winner is the candidate who wins the most states, rather than the candidate who wins the most votes. The results of the second election turned out to be equally controversial:

 

Votes for Nathan

Votes for Suzie

States for Nathan

States for Suzie

North Artesia

  730,000

  270,000

1

0

Central Artesia

  400,000

  600,000

0

1

South Artesia

  400,000

  600,000

0

1

TOTAL

1,530,000

1,470,000

1

2

The vote totals are exactly the same. But this time Suzie, with support from 2/3rds of the states, is declared the winner.

The US Electoral College works the same way. We have 50 states of varying sizes, but presidential candidates still must vie to win entire states, rather than individual votes.

This article gives a nice description of how the US Electoral College works.

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The Fictional Country of Artesia
Suzy
Suzy South
Nathan
Nathan North