The biggest myth about the Electoral College is that it somehow helps the small states. However, the small states (13 states with only three or four electoral votes) are the most disadvantaged and ignored group of states under the current system. Political power in presidential elections comes from being one of the few closely divided battleground states with a significant number of electoral votes. None of the small states meet those criteria. The “small state” story has survived, but not the context in which it originated.
Counting slaves as people is how the Electoral College originally helped small states. Slave states were the “small” states, with small numbers of white people, but large numbers of black people. Slave states wanted their slaves to count as people for apportionment purposes. In 1787, slave states argued for a much larger number of votes in the House of Representatives, than if only white people were counted. The Three-Fifths Compromise was the result of this dispute. Since the number of electors for a state is the sum of 2 (number of senators) + the number of representatives, slave states also gained a much larger number of Electoral College votes under the Three-Fifths Compromise. Slave states thereby held a huge advantage in choosing the President.
Today, with no slaves to count as people, the Electoral College offers no significant help to amplify the political power of small states. The Electoral College is merely an anachronism, and a legacy of slavery.
And if every vote were equal, so-called “battleground states” would no longer dominate every presidential election cycle. Presidential candidates would have more reason to campaign in all 50 states — and, hopefully, get to know the entire country better.