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Author Topic: "My vote won't make any difference...."  (Read 2682 times)

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Offline Stattick

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2012, 02:27:52 AM »
I simple refuse to pick the lesser of two evils.

Usually, it's the better of two goods. Occasionally, you'll run into a candidate that's demonstrably evil though, and you know what they say, evil only triumphs when good people do nothing. So that's why I made sure to get out there and vote last week, because I wanted to make sure that the party that was against rape won.

Offline Valerian

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2012, 08:09:39 AM »
Well, assuming you're correct, and there's actually not even one politician in your area that isn't rotten to the core -- in which case I feel very sorry for that part of the world -- then I hope you're also doing something to encourage better people to run.

For example, there's a group here in my state that encourages women to run for office.  It's called Emerge Wisconsin, one of a dozen such programs offered in various U.S. states, and they offer training and support for women at all levels of government.  This training includes ethics classes.  I don't know if there's a Canadian equivalent, but that might be something to investigate.

If you didn't see the video I linked above, let me reiterate that the more extreme and corrupt politicians absolutely love low voter turnouts.  It's much, much easier to fool just a few people into voting the way they want them to vote, after all.

Offline Serephino

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2012, 09:36:32 AM »
If you didn't see the video I linked above, let me reiterate that the more extreme and corrupt politicians absolutely love low voter turnouts.  It's much, much easier to fool just a few people into voting the way they want them to vote, after all.

This.  Neither candidate may be your ideal, but you can stop looking at it as voting for the lesser of two evils, and look at it as picking the better candidate.  Then those politicians we'll see that you are willing to use your vote, and they will do more to try and make you happy.  If you don't do that one thing, none of the rest of it matters.  You can sign all the petitions you want, the politicians aren't going to listen to you.  They don't need you to get re-elected, so they don't have to care about your opinion, and they won't.

It may seem unfair, but it was set up like that to make sure the representatives actually followed the will of the people.  If they don't, they won't have a job when they're up for re-election.  Thing is, the smaller the group of people they actually have to care about is, the easier it is for them to stay in power.  Right now you aren't really making a statement, you are allowing those that do vote to make a decision for you that will affect you.

Offline Oniya

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2012, 09:56:58 AM »
It's like helping politicians evolve.  You start out with spineless disgusting things crawling through the primordial slime, and through constantly selecting the (infinitesimally) better choice, you eventually develop something with intelligence and a backbone.  ;D

Offline Valerian

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2012, 10:51:07 AM »
I am stealing that beautiful analogy to use every time I hear anyone question the usefulness of voting.  Just so you know.

Offline Oniya

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2012, 11:13:12 AM »
Just remember - it probably won't work on creationists.  ;)

Offline Stattick

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2012, 01:22:58 PM »
Yes, they have an amazing ability to resist evolution. On the gripping hand, they're slowly becoming extinct, so it's all good.

Offline FireflyWhisper

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2012, 01:59:02 PM »
I wish we would switch to popular vote rather than Electoral College.  I believe there would be less of a feeling that one vote doesn't count.  I think that the Electoral College system acts to suppress the vote, with so many states being nearly foregone conclusions in regards to presidential vote before the election has taken place. 

It is difficult to have a clear view of what Americans really want when so many feel that it is fruitless to show up in the first place.  Granted, I believe they should be showing up anyway, but I don't think the system should be designed in such a way that it discourages turnout.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2012, 02:55:37 PM »
I wish we would switch to popular vote rather than Electoral College.  I believe there would be less of a feeling that one vote doesn't count.  I think that the Electoral College system acts to suppress the vote, with so many states being nearly foregone conclusions in regards to presidential vote before the election has taken place. 

It is difficult to have a clear view of what Americans really want when so many feel that it is fruitless to show up in the first place.  Granted, I believe they should be showing up anyway, but I don't think the system should be designed in such a way that it discourages turnout.

The problem with that is you'd only need to cater to something like 9 to 12 states to get the popular vote. Ever. Ever other state would be irrelevant

Offline Lux12

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2012, 02:59:21 PM »
The problem with that is you'd only need to cater to something like 9 to 12 states to get the popular vote. Ever. Ever other state would be irrelevant

Sad but true. The bulk of our population is not spread out evenly, it's concentrated in specific states while the others, even if they have millions, seem to almost serve as filler.

Offline Stattick

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2012, 03:13:22 PM »
I don't think we should retain the electoral college. It leads to small population states getting disproportionally high representation, and large population states being drown out. When you compare the most populous states to the least populous, the ratio is something like 6:1, where the votes by the small population state count six times to every one vote by the populous state. It's something not really seen in most republics. Of course the whole idea behind a republic or democracy is that one voice equals one vote.

The likelihood that we'll ever pass an amendment to get rid of the electoral college is virtually nil though, unless the whole Constitution is scrapped or rewritten, so there's not much point in discussing that. What we could do instead, is make every state assign their electoral college votes in a proportional system instead of a winner take all. That way, someone voting for Obama in the last election in Texas would have had their voice heard, as would someone who'd voted for Romney in New York.

In the case of the last election, it wouldn't have made a difference though: Obama still would have won by either popular vote or proportional assignment of the electoral college electors. It would encourage presidential candidates to campaign in every state though. It would matter if Obama took 45% of the Texas vote, or a mere 32% of the vote. Likewise, it would be important to Romney how much of the vote he took in California and New York.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2012, 03:25:15 PM »
Here is the link to the website for the Electoral College.

http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html


This is from a source other than the Electoral College site but is a simple explanation of how it worls. 
Quote
Each state is entitled to a number of Electors equal to the number of the Repesentatives and Senators it is entitled to. Washington DC is given 3 electoral votes even though it has no Representatives or Senators. The total number of electors is 538, which is why 270 electoral votes are needed to win.

The Electoral College is made up of men and women who are chosen by each state's political parties to be the electors for that party's candidate. Shortly after the national Republican and Democratic Conventions, when the actual candidate for each party is determined, the State Republican and Democratic Committees meet separately to choose their respective electors. New Jersey has 15 electoral votes. The State Republican Party has chosen 15 persons to be its electors and the State Democratic Committee has chosen its own 15 persons to be the Democratic electors. If the Republican candidate wins the popular vote in NJ, all 15 Republican electors get to cast their votes for their candidate. If the Democratic candidate wins, then all 15 of the Democratic electors get to cast their votes.

The Electoral College does not meet in a single place at the same time the way Congress meets. Each state's electors meet within their own states to cast their votes. The electoral votes are then transmitted to Congress to be counted.

Offline Cheka Man

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2012, 09:08:07 PM »
My vote in the UK makes no difference as the political parties are the same as each other, or else crazy/evil.

Offline Lux12

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2012, 10:23:09 PM »
My vote in the UK makes no difference as the political parties are the same as each other, or else crazy/evil.

Are you certain?You certainly seem to have far more variety than we do here in the states.

Offline Zakharra

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2012, 11:16:29 AM »
I don't think we should retain the electoral college. It leads to small population states getting disproportionally high representation, and large population states being drown out. When you compare the most populous states to the least populous, the ratio is something like 6:1, where the votes by the small population state count six times to every one vote by the populous state. It's something not really seen in most republics. Of course the whole idea behind a republic or democracy is that one voice equals one vote.

 That's the point of the Electoral collage. So the higher population states can't run completely roughshod over the lower population states. It guarantees that the smaller population states have an actual say in the election and that their voices are heard.

The likelihood that we'll ever pass an amendment to get rid of the electoral college is virtually nil though, unless the whole Constitution is scrapped or rewritten, so there's not much point in discussing that. What we could do instead, is make every state assign their electoral college votes in a proportional system instead of a winner take all. That way, someone voting for Obama in the last election in Texas would have had their voice heard, as would someone who'd voted for Romney in New York.

Each state decides how their electoral votes are cast by the state constitution. It's not all, 'the winner of the popular vote gets all of the electoral collage ballets'. Some states send all of the ballets to the winner while others  have a split system that sends some to one candidate and others to other candidates. 

Offline Oniya

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2012, 11:57:00 AM »
Each state decides how their electoral votes are cast by the state constitution. It's not all, 'the winner of the popular vote gets all of the electoral collage ballets'. Some states send all of the ballets to the winner while others  have a split system that sends some to one candidate and others to other candidates.

To date, only two states have this provision:  Maine and Nebraska.  Also to this date, the votes have only ever been split once - the election before this one, Nebraska split between Obama and McCain.  It might be worthwhile to get more states to adopt this provision, and it would be a bit more likely to succeed if approached at the state level, rather than going headlong after dismantling the Electoral College itself.

Offline Stattick

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2012, 03:25:36 PM »
That's the point of the Electoral collage. So the higher population states can't run completely roughshod over the lower population states. It guarantees that the smaller population states have an actual say in the election and that their voices are heard.

You'd have a point if the US was composed of a bunch of different countries all under a common umbrella - give each nation it's own, equal voice in choosing the head of the alliance. It would like if the European Union had a president, I could see each member nation's vote for EU president could be proportional like the US's Electoral College.

Now, when the US was first created, it was as if the states were each their own separate nation. So, the decision to have an electoral college made sense at the time. However, as a nation we've grown way past each state having nation-state like powers, and each nation-state is a member of a weak federation that really only has powers in war and treaties.

With the current balance of power in the country, it makes the most sense to abolish the electoral college as an institution that's outlived it's usefulness. It would be like living in Canada, but because you live way out in the sticks in the Yukon, your vote counts more than a vote of a Quebecois when it comes to choosing your national leader. It just doesn't make sense to have that disproportionate vote/voice in a modern republic.
 
Quote
Each state decides how their electoral votes are cast by the state constitution. It's not all, 'the winner of the popular vote gets all of the electoral collage ballets'. Some states send all of the ballets to the winner while others  have a split system that sends some to one candidate and others to other candidates.

It's also against the best interests of states to change to a proportional system. States like Ohio are a BIG DEAL because they're winner take all. If they gave their electoral college votes out proportionally, both sides would mostly ignore Ohio, because the vote is going to be pretty much split 50/50 anyway. Why give out big campaign promises to the state when you're at best going to maybe get one extra EC vote out of it? The only to change it would be to get a whole bunch of big states to all agree to do it at the same time, and then put pressure on the rest to join in. If California, New York, Texas, and maybe the next 20 biggest states all agreed to do it, then we could leverage most or all of the rest of the states to do so too. But likelihood of accomplishing that are pretty small. No one wants to give away power once they have it.

Offline Zakharra

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2012, 04:42:32 PM »
You'd have a point if the US was composed of a bunch of different countries all under a common umbrella - give each nation it's own, equal voice in choosing the head of the alliance. It would like if the European Union had a president, I could see each member nation's vote for EU president could be proportional like the US's Electoral College.

Now, when the US was first created, it was as if the states were each their own separate nation. So, the decision to have an electoral college made sense at the time. However, as a nation we've grown way past each state having nation-state like powers, and each nation-state is a member of a weak federation that really only has powers in war and treaties.

With the current balance of power in the country, it makes the most sense to abolish the electoral college as an institution that's outlived it's usefulness. It would be like living in Canada, but because you live way out in the sticks in the Yukon, your vote counts more than a vote of a Quebecois when it comes to choosing your national leader. It just doesn't make sense to have that disproportionate vote/voice in a modern republic.

Your suggestion takes the election power away from the states and in essence, give it to the most populated states. As Callia pointed out, you'd have only 9 to 12 states that would be deciding who it the President. That is way WAY too much power in their hands. Abolishing it doesn't solve anything and concentrates the power into two few hands.

 Not to mention it would require a Constitutional Convention to do that.

It's also against the best interests of states to change to a proportional system. States like Ohio are a BIG DEAL because they're winner take all. If they gave their electoral college votes out proportionally, both sides would mostly ignore Ohio, because the vote is going to be pretty much split 50/50 anyway. Why give out big campaign promises to the state when you're at best going to maybe get one extra EC vote out of it? The only to change it would be to get a whole bunch of big states to all agree to do it at the same time, and then put pressure on the rest to join in. If California, New York, Texas, and maybe the next 20 biggest states all agreed to do it, then we could leverage most or all of the rest of the states to do so too. But likelihood of accomplishing that are pretty small. No one wants to give away power once they have it.

 /shrugs  That's the way the states decided to have their electoral ballets counted. As Oniya pointed out, only 2 states have anything different and those are, I believe, enshrined in the state constitutions. Something the federal government cannot touch or change.  Especially now. It's much too late and it's not the federal governments power to change how states cast electoral ballets.

If anything, I prefer Oniya's solution over yours. It's fairer and more representative of the people than simply abolishing it altogether.

Offline Oniya

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2012, 06:01:04 PM »
If anything, I prefer Oniya's solution over yours. It's fairer and more representative of the people than simply abolishing it altogether.

You will still have people complaining that it isn't, however.  Basically, what my suggestion would do is increase the number of 'states' to 580, and the votes would probably be awarded based on the way each Congressional District goes.  So, in the more populous districts (urban areas) an individual vote would still have less 'impact' compared to in the less populous ones, much the way that a single vote in California has less 'impact' compared to a single vote in Alaska.

Offline Stattick

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2012, 06:07:47 PM »
Your suggestion takes the election power away from the states and in essence, give it to the most populated states. As Callia pointed out, you'd have only 9 to 12 states that would be deciding who it the President. That is way WAY too much power in their hands. Abolishing it doesn't solve anything and concentrates the power into two few hands.

 Not to mention it would require a Constitutional Convention to do that.

Well, it would solve the problem of allowing people to directly elect the president, and get rid of the problem of a presidential candidate winning the electoral college while loosing the popular vote. It's academic though, since it will never happen without an amendment, and both parties at least moderately support the Electoral College, since they both think that at least occasionally, they can game the system. The states would be against it being abolished as well, so I think that there's very little chance it would ever happen.

So, every four years, I have to explain to my international friends on the internet how the EC works, and every year listen to them complaining that the EC is stupid and should be abolished, and,  "What kind of a country do I live in anyway, where the people don't elect their own president?". *sigh* It's a pain.
 
Quote
/shrugs  That's the way the states decided to have their electoral ballets counted. As Oniya pointed out, only 2 states have anything different and those are, I believe, enshrined in the state constitutions. Something the federal government cannot touch or change.  Especially now. It's much too late and it's not the federal governments power to change how states cast electoral ballets.

If anything, I prefer Oniya's solution over yours. It's fairer and more representative of the people than simply abolishing it altogether.

Well, the idea of getting a bunch of states to sign in to go proportional would be a step in the right direction, and wouldn't require a constitutional amendment. There's been a movement to get a bunch of states to agree to it for years. I think they have seven or eight willing to do it, but not until a bunch of other states also agree to do it.

Oniya's suggestion is interesting, but would require a constitutional amendment as well. Also, I'm not comfortable having the votes tied to Congressional Districts, considering how much gerrymandering that goes on. There are states like Texas and Louisiana that have bent over backwards to try to create the congressional districts in such a way as to reduce the number of Democrat Congressmen to almost nothing. Not to be one sided, I'm pretty sure that Democrats have done the same sort of thing in some states as well, at least at some point. (I honestly don't have an idea of how badly gerrymandered any of the blue states might be, I've only heard of some of the really bad red states.)


I understand that you support the EC. A lot of people do. I lot of people hate it, and I happen to be one of those. I do recognize that there are legitimate arguments both pro and con to the EC. However, I don't think either of us is going to convince the other to change their mind. I propose that we agree to disagree.

Offline Kythia

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2012, 06:18:20 PM »
I understand that you support the EC. A lot of people do. I lot of people hate it, and I happen to be one of those. I do recognize that there are legitimate arguments both pro and con to the EC. However, I don't think either of us is going to convince the other to change their mind. I propose that we agree to disagree.

Well, I feel a bit bad doing this after a civil agreement to disgreement, but...

What ARE the arguments in favour of the EC?  I'm not trying to be argumentative here, I'm from the UK and I'm representative of the "international friends" you speak about who don't agree with it - I doubt it's you I've had the conversation with but I have had it with online American friends.

So yeah, really not trying to inflame an argument which you have so decently shut down, but I am curious as to what the pros are.

Offline Stattick

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2012, 06:37:10 PM »
Well, I feel a bit bad doing this after a civil agreement to disgreement, but...

What ARE the arguments in favour of the EC?  I'm not trying to be argumentative here, I'm from the UK and I'm representative of the "international friends" you speak about who don't agree with it - I doubt it's you I've had the conversation with but I have had it with online American friends.

So yeah, really not trying to inflame an argument which you have so decently shut down, but I am curious as to what the pros are.

It makes the less populous states have more of a voice in electing the president. So, for instance, if you live in Montana, Alaska, Kansas, or Georgia (to name a few), your vote counts more than if you live in California or New York. It was a safeguard so one or two more populous states didn't dominate the country back when it was formed. But today, the likelihood that one or two states would be able to dominate the presidency would be impossible.

Some also argue that abolishing the EC would allow Democrat candidates (the more liberal of the two parties) an unfair advantage. It's thought by some that they'd be able to do most of their campaigning in just California and New York and ignore the rest of the nation. The same theory proposes that Republican candidates would have to campaign all over, doing lots of little appearance in less populous areas.

I don't think the reality would work out like that at all, but I'll admit that we can't be certain as to how things would shake out in the real world. I think that what would probably really happen, is that campaigning in Lower New York and Coastal California would be necessary for Democrats, but that they'd want to hit LOTS of places where there's a concentration of Democrat voters, such as Detroit Michigan, Atlanta Georgia, Austin and Houston Texas, and so forth. Meanwhile, the Republicans would want to hit lots of areas that have a concentration of conservative voters, such as almost anywhere in the Midwest or South. But the GOP would also get something out of campaigning in Upper New York (state) or in the farming country of California.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 06:39:55 PM by Stattick »

Offline Kythia

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Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2012, 06:40:10 PM »
Awesome, thank you.

Offline Skynet

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #48 on: November 26, 2012, 07:02:30 PM »
I recall that Jon Stewart is a proponent of the popular vote.

Only problem is that the system is part of the Constitution, and trying to change things would be met with fierce resistance.  Also, as described before, it prevents states like California from becoming too powerful.

Offline Cheka Man

Re: "My vote won't make any difference...."
« Reply #49 on: November 26, 2012, 07:20:22 PM »
Are you certain?You certainly seem to have far more variety than we do here in the states.

Because of the voting system only two parties can get into power and theyt are the same as each other. And some of the other parties are too crazy or evil for most sensible people to want them in power.