Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Why doesn't my vote count?

In case you haven't been conscious lately, there is a presidential election in eight days. Every political outlet and every representative for every party is calling this the most important election in our lifetime. Everywhere you turn, it seems that someone or something is reminding you to use your right to vote. A few weeks ago, it was: Don't forget to register! This election is very important. If there is a hermit living in the mountains in Wyoming who hasn't left his cave in 50 years, he's climbing down the mountain to vote November 2.

I am registered in Dallas and sent in my absentee ballot two weeks ago. It's just too bad that my vote doesn't count. Well, I'm sure it will be counted, but I can promise it won't matter. I voted for John Kerry. I am not a fan of George W. Bush. I haven't been for a while. Texas is, however, an extremely Republican state, and with the Electoral College in place, votes for democratic candidates don't matter.

Texas' electoral votes have gone to the Republican candidate the past six elections. This year, Texas' 34 electoral votes (second only to California's 55) will go to President Bush. Why should I even bother voting? What was the point of taking the time out of my schedule to register, get an absentee ballot, vote for Kerry, and sent it away? I could have voted for USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll; it would be the same result: George W. Bush receiving the Lone Star State's 34 electoral votes.

Posted by Hello(map courtesy of electoral-vote.com)
Texas' 34 electoral votes make up an eighth of the 270 needed to win the presidency. It's been 28 years since a Democrat last won the Lone Star State.

Texas has never awarded its electoral votes to a Democrat in my lifetime. Texas has only once awarded its electoral votes to a Democrat since 1972 (to Jimmy Carter in the '76 election). So what was the point of me voting? Why was it so important?

This is the problem with the Electoral College. Candidates can win the popular vote but lose the election (just ask Al Gore), which really doesn't make sense. Winning the popular vote - having the country choose that candidate - and losing the election is ludicrous. The majority of the country can choose a candidate to be their president, but because of how state borders are drawn up, that same candidate can lose the election. That tells me something is wrong with this system.

The Electoral College is the BCS of politics. It has good intentions, but it doesn't always work.

When the votes are tallied Tuesday evening, mine won't count. Maybe if I had registered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Florida my vote could make a difference. Maybe four years from now I can help choose the next president of the United States. Maybe.

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