Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Los Angeles County Does NOT Have The Same Population As All Of The Bottom 43 States

  • by: Alan Duke
  • (Fri, 11 Oct 2019 16:05:34 Z)

Does Los Angeles County have the same population as all of the bottom 43 American states? No, that's not true: The census bureau estimates there were 10,105,518 people living in Los Angeles County, California, at the start of 2019, while the 43 lesser-populated states had a combined population of 181,860,168 which is 18-times the population of Los Angeles County. The claim is included in a meme targeted at convincing citizens who want to keep the California county's political influence limited that the electoral college should remain in place.

The story originated from a meme (archived here) posted on April 2, 2019 under the title "#savetheelectoralcollege". The meme featured a United States map with the 43 least-populated states highlighted in blue and Los Angeles County in red under text that read:

The red dot is Los Angeles County. That county has the same population as ALL of the blue sections. Any questions as to why we need to keep the Electoral College?

Screenshot of https://www.facebook.com/nicholsforidaho/photos/a.1548469608783398/2034025490227805/?type=3&theater

This is what social media users saw:

There are 538 votes in the electoral college, which convenes every four years to elect a president and vice president for the United States. The votes are apportioned to each state based on their congressional representation, including for each house seat and two senators for every state. The District of Columbia, which has no senators or representatives, is given three votes, as provided by the 23rd amendment. The weight of a single citizen's vote in the lesser-populated states is significantly greater than a citizen's vote in the higher-populated states in the electoral college because of the apportionment of senators.

Replacing the electoral college with a direct election of the president based on the popular vote would create a significant shift of political importance away from the smaller states. The message of this meme overemphasizes that shift, suggesting that the residents of Los Angeles County would have the same influence as the smaller 43 states combined, which is not true.

The states that would most benefit in representation if the electoral college were replaced by a popular vote count include (in descending order) California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia. Their influence on the election of the president is lower per citizen and it would become equal under a popular vote.

The two-million-plus undocumented immigrants counted by the U.S. census in California increase the state's representation in the electoral college by about three votes. The estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants counted in Los Angeles would equal about one vote in the electoral college. These residents would not be able to legally cast ballots in a popular election of the president.

The states that would most benefit in representation if the electoral college were replaced by a popular vote count include (in descending order) California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia. While the meme's focus on Los Angeles suggests it was intended to alarm conservatives, most of those states that lose most under the electoral college -- 7 of the 12 -- were carried by Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

The electoral college system does give California one advantage: The two-million-plus undocumented immigrants counted by the U.S. census in California increase the state's representation in the electoral college by about three votes. The estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants counted in Los Angeles would equal about one vote in the electoral college. These residents would not be able to legally cast ballots in a popular election of the president.

While moving to a popular vote would create a demographic shift in presidential politics, the most significant impact might be from the elimination of the winner-take-all rule in almost every state. In the 2000 election in Florida, George W. Bush beat Al Gore by just 537 votes, but he got all 25 electoral college votes and became president as a result.

There have been five presidential elections in which the electoral college chose a different candidate than what a popular vote would have chosen. The first three were in the 19th century -- John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), and Benjamin Harrison (1888) -- and two were in recent history -- George W. Bush (2000) and Donald Trump (2016).

While some may read the meme as saying that Los Angeles County is the same as each of the blue states on the map individually, that is not what it says. It uses the word "same" and "all," which would be wrong. Los Angeles County does not have the "same" population as any of them, and it has a similar population to just one -- MIchigan.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?


Click this link to copy it to your clipboard
Then click here if you have Facebook or click here if you have Twitter to see who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.

About the author:

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

Spotted a hoax that you think we should investigate? Have a tip? Want to send us a correction? Contact us!

You can also follow us here:

Most read

Recent

Like or Follow us to get the latest!

NEW! Subscribe to our YouTube channel: