Friday, April 25, 2008

The fractious electoral college count that determines the president

Carl Bialik, the WSJ's Numbers Guy, has a fascinating maths tutorial on the way some numbers count and others don't, or haven't at various times in US history, when it comes to sorting out the Electoral College count for President. And he wasn't talking about hanging chads.
It seems like a straightforward calculation: First, divide seats in the House of Representatives among the states according to population. Then, add the state's two senators and you get its electoral-vote count.

But since the country's infancy, politicians and the courts haven't been able to make the math add up. Some methods are prone to selling states short, some to paradoxes. As elections of late have proved, bad math -- even the most rudimentary kind, counting -- can have big consequences.

Unfortunately, the Constitution didn't say what to do about fractions....
You'll need to read the rest yourself.


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