The Electoral College Reform Map, an art project by Neil Freeman

Electoral College Reform Map: A New Way to Approach Voting



Every election year the Electoral College is put under a microscope as many believe the system is not a solid form of selecting the next President of the United States and that it does not reflect the popular vote.

There may be a solution – The Electoral College Reform Map, an art project by Neil Freeman, 31.

“The map is an art project all on its own! It came about because I was curious about how population was distributed across the country, and wanted to rethink the electoral college, which is in deep need of rethinking (or abandonment),” Freeman said in an e-mail.

The Chicago native who now lives in Brooklyn said the project is still a work in progress and has consisted of part-time work of the course of several months. The project originally started after the 2000 election, when sensible proposals for Electoral College reform failed to get traction Freeman said. He originally did a version of the map in 2004, but updated it in 2012 with the 2010 Census population data.

“The U.S. election system misses the higher calling of fairness. It's not just the electoral map, but the Senate, and the election to the House by district. In terms of geographic size, Indian country combined would be a large state. In terms of population, we need far more representation at the federal, state and county level, to reach any sort of level of parity. The Cherokee Nation has more citizens then Wyoming and the Navajo Nation is not that far behind. Yet Wyoming has two U.S. Senators and a member of the House. (Cherokee has a member of the House, but not one who ran on Cherokee issues the way someone would in Wyoming.) And in the House, as long as we elect by district, there is no chance that the 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives would win the 18 seats that would be equal to a district with 272,000 people (as is now the case in Congress), even at Navajo where the reservation has a population larger than that figure (divided by three states),” said Mark Trahant, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe writer, speaker and Twitter poet.

Freeman recognizes the reasoning of the Electoral College but states on the site, “The American body politic has also grown accustomed to paying close attention to the popular vote. This is only rarely a problem, since the Electoral College and the popular vote have only disagreed three times in 200 years. However, it's obvious that reforms are needed.”

Freeman describes the advantages to the new map as preserving the Electoral College structure; an end to over representation and under-representation; political boundaries would represent economic patterns; and would end varying representation in the House. Another interesting point that he points out is states could be redistricted after each census.

Freeman’s site draws attention to what he says is the fundamental problem of the Electoral College – “that the states of the United States are too disparate in size and influence. The largest state is 66 times as populous as the smallest and has 18 times as many electoral votes.” That variation leads to Electoral College results that don’t match the popular vote. With his map, Freeman re-divides the 50 states, into a new 50 states of equal population where each state has a population of 6,175,000.

Looking at Freeman’s map, many will notice terms that are familiar like that of Menominee, Muskogee and Ogallala. When asked if he was aware that they were American Indian tribes Freeman said, “I was aware that they were American Indian words when I started. I generally tried to avoid using the names of tribes simply because they were the names of tribes, and instead look for names that were also associated with important geographic features. Some of the names also have personal connotations. My grandfather grew up in a town called Menomonee Falls, and although I took the spelling from the river, I was thinking of him when I chose that name.”

Freeman continues to tweak the map and recently added a section giving the source languages for each state name.

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kohler's picture
Submitted by kohler on
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions. When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC. The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action. In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win. The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect. NationalPopularVote Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

Michael Kennedy's picture
Michael Kennedy
Submitted by Michael Kennedy on
Is there a larger version available, can not read this one

Michael Kennedy's picture
Michael Kennedy
Submitted by Michael Kennedy on
Is there a larger version available, can not read this one