More on the Electoral College

November 4, 2008 at 9:48 pm (Political Ponderings)

Electoral College: Thought you were voting for president? Think again.

Well, since I’m in an election kinda mood I thought I’d babble on a little bit about how it actually works, since a whole lot of people don’t really know.

See, the misconception is this – that when you go into the poll, and you put a mark down for Obama, or McCain, or Barr, or whoever it is that you want for President, that you’re actually voting for President.

That is, unfortunately, not the case.
Say hello the the Electoral College System.

In a nutshell, the way it works is this:

Each state has a set number of elected representatives, equal to the number of Senators and Representatives that state has in congress.
Here in my home state of Illinois, we have 21 of them.

When you, for example, mark down “Obama” on your ballot, rather than saying “I want Obama for President,” what you’re really saying is “I want Obama’s representatives to be the representatives in Illinois.”
You’re actually voting for them, not for President.

Why does it matter, you may ask?

Two main reasons, which may or may not be seen as a big deal (probably depending on if it causes your guy to lose or not):

1) As seen in one of my previous posts, the number of electoral votes can be way out of sync with the number of votes from the actual population. Reason being that states with larger populations get way more seats in congress. As a result it’s very possible that, even though if you were to do a count of everyone’s votes, one candidate won – he may still lose because those votes weren’t in the right states.

2) As previously stated, you don’t vote for President, these representatives do. Now, when you vote in a Democratic representative, you expect that he’s going to vote the way the citizens are voting and vote for the Democratic President. But guess what – there’s nobody holding a gun to his head. He may get some wild bug up his arse and decide to vote for somebody else anyway. It’s certainly happened before.

And there you have it: Why, when you get right down to it, your vote is pretty much worthless 😛


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Why the electoral college system sucks: current example

November 4, 2008 at 9:08 pm (Political Ponderings)

The Electoral College, and why you vote may not actually count for much

So as I write this, current on-the-fly election results as reported by Google News indicate the following:

Popular (as in counting everyone individually) vote:

McCain slightly winning:
McCain: 50%
Obama: 49%

Electoral College votes:

Obama: 103
McCain: 34

Yup – although there’s actually only 1% difference in the number of votes, Obama is leading by a crapload (currently about 77%) thanks to the electoral college system.
I think I may go into more detail about how this works once I’m done putting a few finishing touches on a paper that’s due for school in the morning 😛

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November 4, 2008 at 8:18 pm (Political Ponderings)

So today I “did my civic duty” and stopped to vote before heading to work.
I went in at about 8:30a, in hopes that I’d miss some of the crowd since theoretically a whole bunch of people should be at work.
Well, if that’s the case, I’d hate to see what it was like around 6pm – I had to stand in line for over half an hour as it was.
I actually get pretty excited to vote – it was an exhilerating experience, and many people all seemed to be in good spirits – didn’t mind chatting with others in line at all.

Yes, I voted for Bob Barr.
And for a whole lot of Republicans. There’s such a run to elect Democrats right now that I’m really concerned that there will be a serious imbalance. From what I can recall the only Democrat I voted for was for one of the judges, and that was because of a personal recommendation from someone who’s actually dealt with that judge.
There were a lot of judges where the vote was basically “Should they stay? Yes/No” – I was really tempted to hit No on the whole lot of them, but I decided in the end to be nice since I didn’t really know anything about them.

And yes, I voted Yes for firearms concealed carry.

Interesting tidbit I just heard over the radio from ABC news: regardless of how “energized” they were supposed to be, apparently (based on early exit polls) young voters (aka under 30) again decided that couldn’t be bothered to actually get off their asses to vote this year – so far comprising of only 17% of voters – exactly the same as in 2004. I’m curious if the fact that one of Obama’s primary support groups can’t be bothered to get off their asses will cause him any problems.

***As I type this, just in: Obama wins Illinois. Color. Me. Shocked. .. *cough*

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