Did you know when you vote in a presidential election your vote does not count towards the person you choose? Every vote actually does count but not for the person you are selecting as your next president. When you vote for your candidate you are actually voting for your candidate’s electors.
The Electoral College is how we elect our president. It is not a place of higher learning but a process. The Electoral College was a compromise our Founding Fathers created as a compromise between choosing a President by a vote in Congress versus a popular vote of qualified citizens. If you want more info on it you can find it in our Constitution.
The Founding Fathers didn’t want the presidency to be a popularity contest nor did they want smaller states cut out of the process. The Electoral College gives populous states their due by having more electors but it also allows smaller states to carry weight.
Each of our 435 congressional districts represents approximately 710,000 citizens. Each district has an elector and the state gets an electoral vote for each of its state senators. For example, New Jersey has 12 congressional districts with two senators so it accounts for 14 electoral votes.
In most states, the popular vote winner in a presidential election gets all of the state’s electoral votes. The only two exceptions are Nebraska and Maine that apportion their Electoral College votes. In other words, an electoral vote goes to the candidate who gets the most votes in a particular congressional district. The two senate electoral votes goes to the winner of the state’s popular vote.
I think that is a fairer way to cast votes than a winner take all approach.
By following the apportion method, each voter has more significance and each district would be fairly represented. If pockets of a state lean one way politically but the majority of the state leans the opposite way, why should the pocket districts be unheard? If each district’s electoral vote goes to the person favored by that district than the results will be an accurate representation of the electorate in whole.
If the 2012 election followed this approach than Mitt Romney, not President Obama, would have gained the required 270 electoral votes to be president. President Obama won 26 states but Romney had a plurality of votes in 99 of the congressional districts. In a sense, those 99 districts should not have even bothered to vote because their voices were unheard. Likewise, in the 24 states Romney won, President Obama won 32 congressional districts. The same holds true for those 32 districts.
That means 30 percent of the districts did not have their vote count.
If we followed the apportion method in 2000, Al Gore would have received 269 electoral votes, George W. Bush would have received 263 and Ralph Nader would have received six. In this situation a vote of state delegations in the House of Representatives would have settled the issue.
Three times throughout history a person became president without winning the popular vote. In 1824 it was John Quincy Adams instead of Andrew Jackson. In 1876 it was Rutherford Hayes over Samuel Tilden and in 1888 Benjamin Harris got it over Grover Cleveland. I’d be interested to see who would have won all past elections if we used the apportion method from the start.
Regardless, I think the best way to ensure that every vote matters is to switch to the apportion method.