Not All Votes Are Created Equal

The title for this entry does not quite mean what you may have inferred. Of course your vote and my vote are created equal in that they each count for one vote. What I am getting at is that neither your vote or my vote is cast directly for the President during any election cycle. We cast our votes for electors to the Electoral College, who in turn, cast their vote for President. First to 270 wins.

Now, why is that important? Take, for example, the impact of Hurricane Sandy on vote tallies. It is estimated that President Obama could lose up to 340,000 votes because of the storm. That is a fairly significant number of votes, but will most likely have little impact on the outcome of the election. The reason for that is that, in the four states most impacted by the storm, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, President Obama’s chances of winning are 99.8%-100%, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Of course, there is the possibility that, at least in some part due to the potential to lose 340,000 votes, President Obama could lose the popular vote and still win re-election. Just such a thing has happened four times in the past, most recently in 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote by 540,000 votes but lost Florida by 537 votes (ironic that Gore needed 538 votes to have carried Florida, and that 538 is the total number of votes in the Electoral College) and George W. Bush won the 27 electoral votes for the state and became President.

Now, I am in no way encouraging anybody in any state to not vote, nor am I implying that our votes do not really matter. Our votes do matter and everyone who can vote should vote. What I am advising is to keep an eye on more than just the poll you see on the Today show or Good Morning America because they are, of course, going to report on what gives them the most viewers.

I believe that voters should also be educated. It is easy to listen to an attack ad, or to be influenced by your friends on Facebook, but be better than that. Just because your friend on Facebook posts 20 or more anti-Obama links every day does not mean that you should blindly follow their suggestion to vote against him. You should vote for the candidate who you feel best represents your values and beliefs, whether or not your biggest concern is abortion rights, gay marriage, women’s rights, the economy, jobs, or something else.

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3 Responses to Not All Votes Are Created Equal

  1. Pingback: Today Is The Day « Our Not So Expert Opinions

  2. Pingback: And The Winner Is… « Our Not So Expert Opinions

  3. Pingback: Loud and Clear « Our Not So Expert Opinions

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