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Result of Winner-Weighted Representative Electoral College Voting: Trump 267, Clinton 266

After casting his Electoral vote for the Führer on Monday, Governor Dennis Daugaard repeated his belief that the Electoral College members should be faithful to their state’s voters:

After the vote, Daugaard told the Capital Journal, through an aide, that he “believes that it is the duty of the electors to cast a vote that represents the election result in South Dakota, where Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 62 percent to 32 percent” [Stephen Lee, “SD’s Part of the Electoral College Casts Three for Trump,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2016.12.20].

A vote that represents the election result… now there’s a phrase that gets the political mathematician’s spreadsheets running on a solstice morning!

Governor Daugaard obviously means that Electors should represent the majority vote—or, this time in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the plurality vote.

If Electors voted proportionally...
If Electors voted proportionally….

But suppose we get mathematical and say Electors should represent the complete election result, assigning to each candidate a vote as proportional to their popular vote percentage as possible. Treating Electors as integers (we won’t make Dennis cast any fractional votes) requires some rounding. So let’s adopt these criteria:


  1. Multiply each candidate’s popular vote percentage by the state’s total number of Electoral College votes.
  2. For the first-place candidate, round that product up to the nearest integer.
  3. For the second-place candidate, if enough Electoral votes remain, round that product up to the nearest integer. If not enough Electoral votes remain, round that product down to the nearest integer.
  4. Continue in like fashion for all subsequent candidates until all Electoral College votes are assigned.

How would those criteria work in South Dakota?

  1. Multiply:
    1. Trump: 61.53% × 3 = 1.85 EV
    2. Clinton: 31.74% × 3 = 0.95 EV
    3. Johnson: 5.63% × 3 = 0.17 EV
    4. Castle: 1.10% × 3 = 0.03 EV
  2. Trump wins, so we automatically round his 1.85 up to 2.
  3. Giving Trump 2 leaves 1 EV, so we can round Clinton’s 0.95 up to 1.
  4. Trump 2 + Clinton 1 = South Dakota 3, so we’re done. Sorry, Johnson and Castle!

How about Florida?

  1. Multiply:
    1. Trump: 48.60% × 29 = 14.09 EV
    2. Clinton: 47.41% × 29 = 13.75 EV
    3. Johnson: 2.18% × 29 = 0.63 EV
    4. Others (Stein, Castle, de la Fuente): 1.81% × 29 = 0.52 EV
  2. Trump wins, so 14.09 rounds up to 15.
  3. Clinton in second rounds up to 14.
  4. Trump 15 + Clinton 14 = Florida 29, so we’re done. Even though Johnson’s 0.63 EV would round up in normal math, under my criteria, winning still has some advantage.

Iowa also shows a fun bite of the rules:

  1. Multiply:
    1. Trump: 51.15% × 6 = 3.07 EV
    2. Clinton: 41.74% × 6 = 2.50 EV
    3. Johnson: 3.78% × 6 = 0.23 EV
    4. Others (Stein, Castle, de la Fuente): 1.81% × 29 = 0.52 EV
  2. Trump wins, so 3.07 rounds up to 4.
  3. Clinton’s 2.50 EV should mathematically round up to 3, but Iowa only has 6, and Trump gets 4, so Clinton only gets 2, and we’re done.

Of course, the real fun comes in applying these criteria to all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Based on Dave Leip’s Atlas of Presidential Elections, I calculate that Electoral College voting representative of the popular vote percentages in each state, with round-up preference for winners, produces something short of the landslide Trump keeps lying about:

  • Trump 267
  • Clinton 266
  • Johnson 3 (2 in CA, 1 in TX)
  • McMullin 1 (UT)
  • Stein 1 (CA)

A representative Electoral College vote would leave nobody with the 270 necessary to win the Presidency and throw the election to the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold majorities in a majority of state delegations.

A literal reading of Governor Daugaard’s wish for the Electoral College to represent the election results might still have produced President-Elect Trump… but it would have given us the chance to do more spreadsheets and enjoy a thorough lesson in the Presidential selection process right through the ultimate vote of the House of Representatives.


  1. Rorschach 2016-12-21 08:29

    Interesting. I like it, but we still need to ditch the electoral college.

  2. Ben Cerwinske 2016-12-21 10:05

    I found this interesting as well. I’m not in favor of getting rid of the Electoral College though. I would be interested in tweaking it some how. One concern I have with Cory’s model is would this create even more recount chaos? One problem with having a popular vote is if it’s close, then a national recount sounds like madness. Cory’s model could be similar if candidates’ would try to get their numbers rounded up in a close vote.

  3. Roger Elgersma 2016-12-21 11:17

    Respect the people when they vote for a potus that they despise, but thumb your noses at the people who want to get corruption out of your own election.

  4. Adam 2016-12-22 14:01

    I am completely sick and tired of the entire concept of the electoral college.

    The ONLY way for a vote of a sky scraping penthouse resident, overlooking the ocean, to be equal to the vote of a rural farmer is to squash this electoral college.

    The purpose of this electoral college is obsolete in this modern world – and I am not sure the damn thing ever had a viable purpose to start with.

    If you want one vote to equal one vote, do not support this electoral college! If you want votes to count, then realize that 1 = 1. Just because Americans gravitate towards cities is no solid case for 1 should not be equal 1 (you fuzzy math lovin’ conservatives – I’m talking to you).

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-12-22 14:33

    I do not propose my math as an actual policy alternative. I offer it only as an exploration of an interpretation of Governor Daugaard’s statement… and another way of showing how much Trump has exaggerated the size of his win.

  6. Adam 2016-12-22 17:46

    No matter how much reading I do, I still just can’t quite figure out how this country ever got to this point – where 1 vote does not equal 1 vote.

    1 should = 1 [I wholly insist]

    Just because a candidate wins a state by 1%, it does not mean that the whole state should go to that candidate… And there are so many more reasons that the electoral college fails to represent the population at large.

    The electoral college is a travesty of a concept. For any one vote to count more than another should be seen as completely appalling and un-American.

  7. Bruce 2016-12-23 09:05

    What happen to actually getting out the vote in a 50 state strategy like Howard Dean promoted? Gee whiz, we always have to find a way to keep changing the rules and fudging the results to make it look like the system is rigged in a way we can’t fix.

    Sorry to inform you, the Democrats have been played for decades by the leftovers of the Goldwater-Nixonian drones sent out into the world hellbent on getting revenge for their plans being foiled by the unbelieving elites.

    There has been a class (money) fight for years and no one in the Democratic Party seems to be interested in addressing it with hard work coming from their collective brains and brawn. I have attended the South Dakota Democratic Party crying tour meetings and have not seen our party “leaders” actually taking anything said to heart.

    Go watch the videos I have posted and see if you see anything coming close to promise.

    Go look at the pathetic performance by the supposed Democratic candidate turned Indie. Why were two full time Democratic Party party staff in attendance acting like they were happy with the speaker’s performance?

    When will the Democratic Party decide to actually work and not play E-Mail, Facebook and other computer games instead of actually organizing, teaching with training? Until they start building a party instead of “managing” the dissolution there will not be electoral success.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-12-24 09:03

    Bruce, where’s the part where the Dem staff look happy? The clip I saw in your video tagged them as looking “deflated.”

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