Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why bother voting?

Often I hear the complaint that it's not worth voting, that because of the Electoral College, my vote won't make a difference. While it's true that your vote probably won't alter the way your state's electors vote—particularly if you live in a state that has a chronically lopsided outcome like Massachusetts, New York, Texas or Idaho—all votes still count for something. The electors are the ones who officially make the decision, yes, but the voices of the 130,000,000 or so voters do count. After all, while a president can lose the popular vote and still win the presidency, it sure doesn't look good when that president gets into office that way.

Say we Obama supporters were to lose the electoral college but win the popular vote. That would put a dent in McCain's claim on a "mandate." Bush still went crazy in that situation when he lost the popular vote but got the electoral vote awarded to him by the Supreme Court, but it still affects popular opinion.

If there's an electoral college tie then it's settled by a vote in the House of Representatives. They will probably settle it for Obama, since the Democrats control more state delegations than the Republicans do, and that's probably not going to change with this year's elections. But if McCain wins the popular vote in that situation, it'd be a harder sell for the House to vote for Obama.

Of course, if we win both the popular vote and the electoral vote, the greater our popular vote is, the better Obama looks. The fact is that while most Americans know the rules of the Electoral College, on some level it doesn't feel fair that the candidate who got the most votes doesn't get to be president. That's the rule for every election in this country except for the presidential one, so there's a certain visceral resentment toward the notion that the number-two candidate can snag job number one.

So you see, there's always a reason to vote, even if your state (like mine) isn't likely to be anywhere near close. And it goes without saying that we all have a duty as citizens to participate in this process which is the backbone of our system of government. Maybe it's just the civics nerd inside me talking, but I maintain that that's important.

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3 Comments:

At Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 11:42:00 PM EDT, Blogger TT said...

I like that article you posted!! However, if you don't feel passionate either way about any of the candidates..is it better to vote independent or just not vote at all? :-)
~Thanks!

 
At Saturday, September 27, 2008 at 6:51:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to hear your thoughts on the debate!

 
At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 7:46:00 PM EDT, Blogger TT said...

Kurt or Political Blogger- which ever you prefer..

here is a fun quiz I thought you and your readers may like! :-)

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/MatchoMatic/fullpage?id=5542139


Enjoy!!

 

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