Protecting Minorities

Another interesting side-effect of the Electoral College is that is protects minorities. Here’s how.

Let’s again look at the fictional nation of Artesia: three states with 1 million voters each. And let’s say that, while 83% of the population is ethnic Artesians, 17% belong to a minority group called the Manganese. So, there are 2.5 million Artesian voters and only 500,000 Manganese.

State

Artesians

Manganese

Votes needed to win

% of Artesian vote

North

1,000,000

           0

   500,001

50%

Central

   750,000

250,000

   500,001

67%

South

   750,000

250,000

   500,001

67%

TOTAL

2,500,000

500,000

1,500,001

60%

In a direct election, a candidate needs 1.5 million votes to win. They could ignore the Manganese—even run on an anti-Manganese platform—and still win. All they would need is 60% of the ethnic Artesian vote.

But what if the country uses a divided electoral system? In order to become president, a candidate now must win two of the three states. And let’s say further that Manganese live mostly in Central and South Artesia—very few live in the North. Thus, while an anti-Manganese candidate might be able to carry North Artesia, they would have a much tougher time carrying either of the other two states, where Manganese voters are concentrated. Such a candidate would, in fact, have to win about 67% in one of those states—a much tougher task.

A divided electoral system requires candidates to win states, and minority voters have stronger influence at the state level than at the national level.

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