Krebs' Class Blogs

Constructing, creating, communicating, collaborating, and thinking critically in grade 5.

November 9, 2012
by Denise Krebs

What if all 50 States Were NOT Winner-Take-All?

We were curious. And curiosity is a genius thing, so we did something about it.

Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that divide up their electoral votes according to the proportion of votes each candidate receives.

We decided to see how the electoral college of 2012 would have been different if all 50 states used proportional voting.

Here’s how our map came out:

We finished up at the end of class, just about at the bell. We have a few errors to fix on Monday and some questions to find answers to. However, right now it appears that there is a tie in electoral votes with 267 each for Obama and Romney, along with 4 others that we weren’t sure what to do with.

On Monday, we will continue our curiosity and see what answers we can find.

So, here we are on Monday. There were a few mistakes — an extra vote we had to take away from Romney in NJ and Nebraska, and we had to give Romney another electoral vote in Nevada. We also forgot to add in the three electors from Washington, D.C. There was also at least one addition error. So here’s what we have, our official (and incomplete) voting results if the electors voted based on the popular vote.

  • Obama 269
  • Romney 266
  • Undecided – 1 each in Missouri, Illinois, and Pennsylvania

However, if it’s left at that, we still don’t have a president, as a candidate needs at least 270. Since Obama won two of those states and Romney won in one, we could give the delegate to the state winners, as it might be done in Nebraska and Maine. (Here is more information about the electoral college.)

When we add in the undecideds, then our official results look like this, and President Obama would be declared the winner:

  • Obama 271
  • Romney 267

We did learn that in a close election it is extremely important to be completely accurate. We had to check and double-check the proportions of the popular votes when we assigned the electors and the addition of the electors in each of the Obama and Romney columns.

Here is another map, not nearly as close, based on the #KidVote collaborative event we were part of:


This is the official map of the 2012 Electoral College from

What do you think about the way we count the votes in a U.S. presidential election?

Is there a better way to determine who wins the election?

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