Your vote for Obama or Romney won’t count

October 25, 2012

Next week’s column will probably be devoted to why you should vote. I will tell you how much your vote counts-blah, blah, blah, blah.

In reality, however, your vote is meaningless when it comes to whether Obama or Romney will be our next president. You don’t decide who will be president. Rather, an archaic, 18th century, constitutional institution, called the Electoral College, will make that decision.

A candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to win the presidency. It is very possible this year that President Obama will be declared the president, again, by the Electoral College, despite Governor Romney having garnered more popular votes. This very dilemma occurred in 2000, when Al Gore received 543,895 more popular votes than George Bush, however Bush received more Electoral College votes, and was declared the winner.

Unless you live in a swing state, like Florida, or Colorado, or Virginia, or even Ohio, your vote DOES NOT count. READ ME, your vote will not matter! Swing states, those states where votes are evenly divided between candidates year after election year, it’s almost pointless to vote for a presidential candidate (HOWEVER there are plenty of local candidates and issues, where your vote does matter).

They say our neighbor to the south, Ohio, is the most important presidential barometer. In other words, that state, which has 18 electoral votes (Michigan has 16), has voted for the winning presidential candidate every election since 1960, when they voted for Richard Nixon, instead of the eventual winner, John F. Kennedy.

That is why Ohio, and in some respects Florida, Colorado, and Virginia are so important. The presidential candidates have visited Ohio fourteen times apiece, and will probably be there three or four more times before the election. Nevada, another swing state, although it has only a few electoral votes, has subjected its citizens to over 73,000 television ads from Obama and Romney  since June.

And in our state- well it’s quite different. We are considered a safe Democratic state. Most political pundits expect Obama to carry the state by 5-10 percentage points. There are several Obama and Romney ads running, but its only for show. Michigan, even though it is the home state of Governor Romney, hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.

Quite frankly, I’m upset that I can’t have a say as to who our next president will be. I’m a Michigander, which means I’m nobody with respect to the Electoral College. The same if I were to live in California, Texas, or New York, the three biggest states in the country. Their votes don’t count either.

That’s why I’m all in favor of abolishing the Electoral College. Just think if that were to happen and the president were to be elected by popular vote. Just think my friend’s vote in Ohio would no longer be more important than mine. We would be equal, and the same in New York, California, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

The Electoral College was devised to keep some power in the hands of small states and slaveholders. It is an old, decrepit institution that in my opinion, serves no purpose. From time to time our legislators have attempted to reform or abolish the system, but never with success.

The possibility that another election, like 2000, will actually be awarded to the loser, is ridiculous. How can we call ourselves a Democracy, if the popular vote doesn’t count. Even worse, there is a possibility that Obama and Romney might tie with the same number of electoral college votes.

Guess what happens then? The election gets thrown into the House of Representatives, where the votes will be cast by states as a single unit. So now our president is selected by the House, and not by voters, and not by the Electoral College. Wouldn’t that be a joke?

It’s time all votes count equally. Abolish the Electoral College.

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