COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio will drop from 16 congressional districts to 15 starting with the 2022 elections after slow population growth in last year’s census allowed faster-growing states in the South and West to snatch up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives from Rust Belt states.
Ohio’s loss of a seat in Congress for the next 10 years also has implications for presidential elections. A state’s votes in the U.S. Electoral College are calculated by adding their House seats plus two Senate seats.
This means the Buckeye State will have 17 Electoral College votes (15+2) in the 2024 and 2028 presidential elections, instead of the 18 (16+2) it had in 2012, 2016 and 2020.
The nationwide shifts in congressional seats (and thus electoral votes) this time around were relatively minor as Texas (+2) was the only state that saw a shift by more than one, compared to four states in 2011: Florida (+2), New York (-2), Ohio (-2) and Texas (+4).
Ohio’s 17 electoral votes in the next two presidential elections will be its fewest since 1824, when Ohio held 16 of the Electoral College’s 261 votes and John Quincy Adams beat Andrew Jackson for the presidency. That year, the U.S. had just 24 states, and Michigan was still 13 years from statehood.
Three electoral votes is the fewest the Buckeye State has ever had, during its first presidential elections in 1804 and 1808. Ohio peaked at 26 votes in the 1960s and has lost at least one after every census since.
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The upcoming House seat shifts would not have changed the outcome of last November’s presidential election, in which then-candidate Joe Biden beat now-former President Donald Trump, 306-232.
If 2024’s electoral college makeup was applied to 2020, Biden would still beat Trump 303-235.