The New and Improved Electoral College Map

Three years ago I mentioned a project Neil Freeman, an artist and urban planner in New York, had worked out to fix the Electoral College system. He divided the U.S. into 50 jurisdictions of more-or-less equal population, tried to keep them geographically contiguous and culturally coherent, and came up with this result:

Thumbnail image for reform_gis_main_map_800.jpg

Now the 2010 Census results are in, and Freeman is back with a new, improved, and way spiffier (plus anthropologically/geographically informed) Electoral Reform Map. You can get more details at his site, but this will give you the idea:


I object to one "improvement," his renaming of my original homeland. Before, it was on the border of Coronado and Mojave; now it is in Temecula, which for childhood-experience reasons I resist*. Otherwise, sign me on for this plan. Meta-point: one more reminder of how rusty and skewed the machinery of our democracy has become.
* What's more, the namesake city of Temecula is just barely inside this new Temecula jurisdiction, which mainly replicates the borders of San Bernardino County (plus some of Riverside) and most of whose territory is taken up by Mojave Desert. Thus the aptness of the original name! But I suppose this doesn't matter -- and I know that people from, say, Scioto would have their own nit-picks. I just didn't like Temecula when I was a kid.

Also, as Freeman just pointed out to me in an email, it is possible that some residents of the new unit named King might put up a fuss. You'll see what he means.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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