If you’re curious why the proposed changes to the electoral college in Virginia are a big deal that would take America several steps further away from true democracy, I’ll make it as simple as I can by using three states to illustrate the problem.
I’ll begin with North Carolina, mostly because that’s where I live, but it also was conveniently close in 2012. North Carolina has 9.7 million people living in it, making it the 10th largest state by population. Each state gets two Senators and a number of Representatives to be determined by its population according to the most recent census. For NC, that’s 13. A state’s electoral vote count is then determined by its combined representation in the Senate and House, which is how North Carolina ends up with 15 electoral votes.
North Carolina had been a reliably red state until 2008, voting for the Republican Candidate from 1980 until 2004, spanning six elections. A growing minority population combined with a decline in manufacturing and farming jobs and an increase in bio-tech, information technology, and banking jobs in the Research Triangle Park area — home to some of the best medical facilities and colleges in the country — has been pushing North Carolina towards the center for decades. Although Mitt Romney clawed it back last year, NC is going to be a battleground state for many years to come, and may eventually become more blue than than purple.