Every Vote Counts. Well…Not Really

Graphic showing how the popular vote winner can lose the electoral vote. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just didn’t have the heart for a presidential post. Not because I am upset with Obama. I didn’t vote for him. But i didn’t vote against him either. I voted Green this year, because I wasn’t thrilled with either candidate. My rant on why we desperately need a third party will come soon enough.Anyway, I wrote this the day after the election in 2008. The Electoral College is right up there with the AWA Challenge Series. Great concept, but outdated and must be replaced.


(written November of 2008)

With the third Presidential debate ending, most people who have any intention by now have surely made their mind up. And surely they realize that their single vote can sway the election. And surely that their vote matters. Well, not quite. After the fiasco of the 2000 election, many realize that a candidate does not need to win the popular vote in their country to become Commander in Chief. Yet few realize that of whomever wins the popular vote in the state does not necessarily win that state’s electoral votes. Surely, you can’t be serious. I am serious, and don’t call me….(never mind) I apologize to those that thought their vote actually made a difference (and I apologize to those for the Airplane! reference, but I’ve watched it about a trillion times this week). It is actually the Electoral College that decides who wins the state’s electoral votes. So when you go behind the curtain, you are not really voting. Instead, consider yourself being polled your opinion about who you would like to see as president. Your participation is not only ignored, but actually not needed. for those that do not understand the Electoral College process, don’t fret. Most people do not either. It is a complicated and foolish system that exists for no real reason anymore.

There are actually 538 elected representatives who decided who the President of the United States is. That’s about the same amount of people who attended Quiet Riot concerts in the 90s.
The number of each state’s electoral votes are determined by the number of Representatives and Senators it has in Congress. Some argue (I’m still unclear as to how or why they do it with a straight face) that this system makes the votes of the smaller states count more than a popular vote. Interesting. I’ll remember that when I run for President. Shall i campaign in California (55 electoral votes) and Texas (34) electoral votes, OR should i travel to Montana or Wyoming? Those three votes each are crucial!
So what’s the big deal, you might be saying. So the electors actually cast the vote for the President, based on who the people vote for in the polls. True…to a point. Only half of the states require electors to vote for whom they originally pledged allegiance to, or they can become a “faithless voter.”  Confused yet?
It gets worse. But I’m not here to bore you with the intricasies of our political structure. I simply call for its banishment. The system was created in 1787 for fear of collusion between an elite few to choose a president, and the inability to adequately count the popular vote.
Under this system, voter turnout is not important, except in swing states. Theoretically, a candidate has to only win the 11 largest states to win the presidential election. And he (or she) can win in the them at the public’s polls by the slimmest of margins, and lose every other state, and still win the Presidency.
This logic of voting also excludes an independent party from having any shot of truly winning an election. The last time an independent candidate made any noise in an election was 1968, when George Wallace won some of the Southern states based on his platform of segregation, which is archaic and ridiculous. Sort of like the Electoral College.
Technology clearly has changed. We can shoot a missile from one side of the planet to the other. We can suck fat out of people’s bodies. Thousands get Lasik eye surgery every day. But we are told that our country would not be able to count votes in a timely manner. Sadly, we accept that.
In the 60s and 70s, a bill was brought light. Several shouted for a reversal of policy. It died in the Senate.
  Don’t think for a second I’m against the act of voting. I think everyone should get out to the polls on Election Day. But more for the symbolism of freedom and honoring the sacrifies have made for you. Others’ sacrifices have allowed you to vote. Don’t let them down.

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