THE BLOG
11/06/2014 01:39 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2015

Illinois Voters Don't Have Much National Influence, Report Says

It is every Americans' duty and right to exercise the right to vote and voice an opinion in how our communities are governed.

With such a close governor's race in Illinois, residents of this state know their votes count more than ever this year. But what about when it comes to Illinoisans' national influence? How much does an individual Illinoisan's vote count at the federal level? A new study by WalletHub attempted to answer that question.

Not every state or person within a state has an equal democratic influence. WalletHub explains it like this:

Although the U.S. is a democratic nation, ballots carry different weights based on the state in which one lives. Take California, for instance. Its estimated population is nearly 66 times greater than Wyoming's, yet each state has two seats in the Senate. In this case, less is more: California's votes are weakened exponentially because each of its senators must represent tens of millions more residents.

WalletHub calculated the influence of voters in each state:

We did so by calculating the number of elected officials in the federal government per adult population in each state for the most recent election years. We also conducted year-over-year comparisons of the same calculations.

The study looked at each state's Senate vote power, House vote power and presidential vote power.

Each state was given a rating of voter influence, from 5.069 to 1.407. Illinois was ranked with a low voter influence rating-it is the 43rd most influential state, with a score of 1.524. Wyoming was ranked as the state with the most nationally powerful voters with a score of 5.069 and Florida voters were ranked as the least influential with a score of 1.407.

Check out this interactive map to see each state's overall ranking:

Since different offices are elected differently (direct election of senators, presidential electoral college, basing House representation on population), different states could be more influential when voting for one office than another.

In Senate voting power, Illinois ranked even lower, at number 45. Once again, Wyoming ranked at the top, while California voters were ranked as having the least influence.

Check out this interactive map:

Illinoisans were ranked as the 43rd most-influential voters in presidential races. Wyoming residents again ranked at the top, while New Yorkers were ranked at the bottom.

Check out this interactive map:

Illinois' relatively large population drove its voter influence down when it comes to the Senate and presidential races, but the high number of Illinoisans is good news for the state's voter influence when it comes to the U.S. House of Repesentatives. Illinois ranked as the 19-most influential state when it comes to the House. Rhode Island was number one and Montana was the least influential.

Check out this interactive map:

The WalletHub study found that, overall, states that tend to swing Republican have more powerful voters than states that tend to swing Democratic. It also found that the gap between states with more powerful voters and states with least powerful voters is shrinking.

Though it may seem odd that some states have more influence than others, the framers of the U.S. Constitution mixed the various electoral methods in order to make it intentionally unfair in some ways. According to University of Kansas professor Donald Patrick Haider-Markel in the WalletHub survey, Senate representation is designed to over-represent states with smaller populations. States with larger populations get some of that representation back through House representatives.

Nationally, individual Illinoisans may not have as much as influence an individual Wyomingan, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still exercise that influence. Plus, in statewide elections, every Illinoisan's vote counts the same-a lot.

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