Members of the Electoral College vote in New York in 2012. Tim Roske, Associated Press
This story was updated on December 30, 2016.
For the second time in the five most recent U.S. elections, the winner of the popular vote did not receive a majority of votes in the Electoral College. Donald Trump, despite carrying only 47 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 48 percent, appears to have won the Electoral College 306-232 by scoring razor-thin victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Here’s the current 2016 Electoral College map under the current rules, which award Electoral College votes to the winner of each state on a winner-take-all basis:
Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
(As of the creation of this map, the results of the Michigan election had not yet been certified. Donald Trump was declared the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes on November 28.)
Just like after the 2000 election, in which George W. Bush became president despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore, there have been calls from several prominent liberals – including Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) – to abolish the Electoral College system and move to presidential elections decided by the national popular vote. Even President-elect Trump said he would “rather see” elections decided by the popular vote.
But what if an overhaul of our national elections system can’t or won’t go that far? What if we kept the Electoral College and the constitutional provisions surrounding it and instead awarded Electoral College votes to candidates proportionally based on the share of the vote they receive in each state? Well, the map for the 2016 election could’ve looked something like this: