Thursday, November 8, 2012

Making Your Vote For President Count More

Every 4 years you hear a cry from people that their vote does not count for president depending on the state in which they live.  These same people falsely believe that the solution to their problem is to scrap the electoral college and go to the popular vote.  For example. I live in New Jersey, a state that hasn't voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988, so Republicans believe their vote is wasted, just as I'm sure Democrats in Kansas believe their vote for president is wasted since the Sunflower State hasn't voted for a Democratic candidate since 1964.

In fact my former governor, Corzine, signed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that would assign New Jersey's electoral vote to the candidate who won the overall popular vote.  It only begins when enough states join the compact to make their total electoral vote count over the 270 minimum needed for election.  In this way they believe every vote would count more.

Actually your vote would count LESS if we went to a popular vote system.

Think of it like this...

In my state, NJ, about 3.5 million people will vote for president.  My vote was worth 1 in 3.5 million.  However, if my vote was thrown into every other vote throughout the country, it is now worth 1 in 120 million (give or take).

If we went strictly to the popular vote for president, candidates would focus on the wants and needs of states with large populations and dismiss those states with small ones.  New Hampshire and Iowa despite their small populations, were important states to both campaigns this year, with a popular vote system they would be ignored since neither state has a city in the top 100 in terms of population in the U.S.  Rural needs and concerns would be dismissed.  The electoral system forces candidates to address the needs of all citizens, not just those in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

The electoral college recognizes that various sections of the country think differently and have different desires and focuses.  (I believe its called diversity).  The writers of the constitution understood this, Governor Corzine and those like him do not.

If you really want your vote to count, then you should desire your state to switch to a system such as Maine and Nebraska.  In case you do not know, the number of electoral votes your state has is your congressional districts plus 2 (for your Senators).  Maine and Nebraska allow each of their congressional districts to control one electoral vote.  The average number of people in an congressional district is about 700,000, so now your vote is 1 in 700,000 (and probably worth more since some of that 700,000 are too young will not vote so let's say 1 in 500,000 to be safe).  The two extra electoral votes (for you Senators) goes to the candidate who gets the most overall vote in the state.

Now candidates would really have to work for votes and focus on a broad appeal.  It may even give third party candidates a way to steal an electoral vote or two.

But more importantly, you vote would count more.

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