Joe Ganley

I make software and sometimes other things.


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A New York Times article mentions offhand that a Presidential election could be won with just 22% of the popular vote, and Kottke wonders if this could possibly be true. It is. For example: Sort the states by decreasing electoral votes per voter, then greedily remove states from the bottom of the list until you are left with 270 electoral votes. If a candidate won each of those states (the ones shown in red) by just one vote, he/she would win the election with just 21.56% of the popular vote (note that this requires more than half the votes in Maine and Nebraska, which aren't winner-take-all). This might be the source of the NYT mention, but the scenario there requires about 700,000 more votes than mine, and he also missed the Maine/Nebraska subtlety. I used the same raw data as in that article.

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