Does Your Vote Really Matter in Presidential Elections?

  • News
  • Thread starter Benzoate
  • Start date
In summary: Interesting fact: There is four times in US history where the electoral vote was not in sync with the popular vote, not just in the 2000 election.Apparently , the founding fathers thought most americans of their time were not fully informed on the political issues of the day and thought the voters might not be intelligent enough to make an informed vote relevant to the political positions of that presidential candidate, and rather vote on something inane like what the presidential candidate looks like, what party he is affiliated with , what kind of personality he has, or what kinds of religious beliefs he holds. Apparently , this sentiment still holds today and that is why the electoral college is still in placed.This is quite inaccurate. The electoral college was established at a time when
  • #1
Benzoate
422
0
I mean really. Not only do the politicians we elect fail to fulfill at least a quarter of the promises they made to their voters, and that you basically have two choices where there is a 1/100000000 of a difference on all of their political positions and everyone else who is running is virtually ignored by the media , to top it off, your vote doesn't even count; as most of you may know , the real votes that determined who the next president of the US will be is the electoral vote. Apparently , the founding fathers thought most americans of their time were not fully informed on the political issues of the day and thought the voters might not be intelligent enough to make an informed vote relevant to the political positions of that presidential candidate, and rather vote on something inane like what the presidential candidate looks like, what party he is affiliated with , what kind of personality he has, or what kinds of religious beliefs he holds. Apparently , this sentiment still holds today and that is why the electoral college is still in placed. I mean sure, some voters vote on issues, but the overwhelming majority of voters vote on things characteristic of a presidential candidate irrelevant to issues; Like voters a segment of voters will vote for Obama for the reason that that the US hasn't had a black president , or voters will vote for mccain because of his war record or they will vote for Mccain because of what palin looks like and that she is a member of the NRA. Interesting fact: There is four times in US history where the electoral vote was not in sync with the popular vote, not just in the 2000 election.

The question I posed to you all, do you really believe your vote really counts? The obvious answer is no. But even if your vote did really count , why bother to waste a vote on a politician when the politician you voted for will not fulfill most the campaign promises he made to you?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Benzoate said:
The question I posed to you all, do you really believe your vote really counts? The obvious answer is no.
I'm afraid you are wrong. Obviously each individual vote goes to the total vote. Some people think that their one vote isn't going to change anything except they fail to stop and think about what would happen if millions of others thought the same way and didn't vote. Of course all of those "single votes" could change the outcome of an election. And in order for a candidate to get a states electoral vote they have to win in that state. So in that regard, not voting could cause the electoral vote to go to the candidate you don't want. Even a few thousand votes could change the outcome in a close election.
 
  • #3
Benzoate said:
Apparently , the founding fathers thought most americans of their time were not fully informed on the political issues of the day and thought the voters might not be intelligent enough to make an informed vote relevant to the political positions of that presidential candidate, and rather vote on something inane like what the presidential candidate looks like, what party he is affiliated with , what kind of personality he has, or what kinds of religious beliefs he holds. Apparently , this sentiment still holds today and that is why the electoral college is still in placed.
This is quite inaccurate. The electoral college was established at a time when travel could be quite arduous and time-consuming and the results of elections could take a lot of time to compile. The electors would take the results from their districts to a central location at which they would present those results and determine the outcome of the election. In cases in which the electors thought that the the interests of their districts might be better-served by forging alliances with other electors, they could be "unfaithful" and cast their votes for someone other than the candidate chosen by the voters back home.

As for the voters not being "intelligent" enough, that's wrong, too. Early on, voting was restricted to men who were property-owners, and they tended to be the most educated people in the country. A typical curriculum for boys would not only include reading, writing, mathematics, and history, but Greek and Latin, as well, and the students were expected to read the classics in Greek and Latin.

Yes, your vote does count. Not every politician is a liar, so vote for someone who appears most likely to do things that you want.
 
  • #4
When a Liberatarian is actually in the Presidential Race, that's when I'll cast a vote. My non-vote is my message to the Democratic and Republican parties.
 
  • #5
Evo said:
I'm afraid you are wrong. Obviously each individual vote goes to the total vote. Some people think that their one vote isn't going to change anything except they fail to stop and think about what would happen if millions of others thought the same way and didn't vote. Of course all of those "single votes" could change the outcome of an election. And in order for a candidate to get a states electoral vote they have to win in that state. So in that regard, not voting could cause the electoral vote to go to the candidate you don't want. Even a few thousand votes could change the outcome in a close election.

I'm sorry Evo , but I am afraid you are wrong. I am NOT voting for any of the two major candidates running for this election. I planned to vote for one of the third party candidates. And they have no chance of winning the presidential election. If I vote for any of the non-major candidates, all that would do is give a politcal advantage to one of the major candidates that are running, Like the Ross PErot vote back in the 1990's helped Bill Clinton when the 1992(or was it 1996) presidential election. As I said before, there have been a few cases where the popular vote was irrelevant. I know that at least 3 % of the american public votes for a candidate not affiliate with

There is still no guarantee that the electors will vote based on the popular votes of their respective state. There have been 3 instances throughout US history where the electoral vote did not represent the popular vote. And there have been 12 states where the electoral vote did NOT represent the popular vote of each state. Its all on this site: http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/electcollege.htm , http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html#history It has happened before and it can happened again. All that matters is the electoral vote , regardless if they vote for a candidate that much of the american public voted for. The electors composed of members of the US of House of representatives and the US Senate. All of them voted for either of the two major candidates. So three percent of the popular vote who might voted for someone like Ralph nader, didn't even can there votes represented by the electoral college.

Even though Ross Perot received at least 20 % of the popular vote, he received like no votes from the electoral college. They voted on party lines.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #6
Benzoate said:
I'm sorry Evo , but I am afraid you are wrong.
No, you are wrong because you are thinking of only your single vote. If you are asking if one vote can change the election, no, but you asked the broader question of people if they think their vote counts and the answer is yes. What you choose to do with your personal vote may be meaningless, but as a whole, yes, votes count.
 
  • #7
Benzoate said:
I'm sorry Evo , but I am afraid you are wrong. I am NOT voting for any of the two major candidates running for this election. I planned to vote for one of the third party candidates. And they have no chance of winning the presidential election.

Well, if everyone thinks like you, then no, they obviously have no chance of winning: that doesn't happen though. However, by definition, if someone is in the presidential race (i.e. is able to be voted for), then there is a chance of him winning.
 
  • #8
Evo said:
No, you are wrong because you are thinking of only your single vote. If you are asking if one vote can change the election, no, but you asked the broader question of people if they think their vote counts and the answer is yes. What you choose to do with your personal vote may be meaningless, but as a whole, yes, votes count.

Listen. Ross Perot got 20 % of the popular vote and he did NOT received a single vote from the electoral college.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Perot;http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/votes/members_1992.html Your vote does NOT count if you are voting for someone who is NOT a republican or Democrat. It is what it is.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
Benzoate said:
The question I posed to you all, do you really believe your vote really counts? The obvious answer is no.
Uhhh... If you are one among 100,000,000 voters then your opinion weights 1/100,000,000 of the total. Isn't it exactly as it is supposed to be? Or did you presume that your personal opinion should be more valuable than everyone else's?

But I prefer that you don't vote. For everyone who fails to voice their opinion, my own becomes more significant. I'm always part of the figures politicians look at when they consider the electorate's wishes. So please, do me a favor and don't vote because your opinion might be different from mine and therefore unimportant. Thanks!

Benzoate said:
why bother to waste a vote on a politician when the politician you voted for will not fulfill most the campaign promises he made to you?
Politicians control what they say during a short electoral campaign but they must keep doing what they have always done because that's who they are. They cannot change who they are. If you vote based on their record instead of their speeches, your will support someone who does what you agree with, no matter what they say.
 
  • #10
out of whack said:
Uhhh... If you are one among 100,000,000 voters then your opinion weights 1/100,000,000 of the total. Isn't it exactly as it is supposed to be? Or did you presume that your personal opinion should be more valuable than everyone else's?

But I prefer that you don't vote. For everyone who fails to voice their opinion, my own becomes more significant. I'm always part of the figures politicians look at when they consider the electorate's wishes. So please, do me a favor and don't vote because your opinion might be different from mine and therefore unimportant. Thanks!Politicians control what they say during a short electoral campaign but they must keep doing what they have always done because that's who they are. They cannot change who they are. If you vote based on their record instead of their speeches, your will support someone who does what you agree with, no matter what they say.

20 % of americans( Thats almost 20 million voters since almost 100 million voters participate in the elections). did not get their vote counted! That 20 millions americans who wasted an hour in line waiting to vote for there presidential hopeful, and none of their electors represented them. If the electoral election truly represent the American people and not the two major parties of this country, then ROSS Perot should received at around 107 electoral votes, but he only received 0 electoral votes. The voting process is flawed.
 
Last edited:
  • #11
In my opinion American politics is a Barnum and Bailey world. I recommend anyone not to vote.
 
  • #12
Benzoate said:
20 % of americans( Thats almost 20 million voters since almost 100 million voters participate in the elections). did not get their vote counted!
Yet their votes were counted (you're giving us the counts). And after counting these votes, the candidate didn't have enough to become president, electoral college or not.

Benzoate said:
The voting process is flawed.
I'm sure it can be improved since it is now technically possible to count all votes directly. It would not have helped Perot one bit, but it would have helped Gore.
 
  • #13
MeJennifer said:
In my opinion American politics is a Barnum and Bailey world. I recommend anyone not to vote.
He-he, I so agree. Just you and I should be voting.
 
  • #14
out of whack said:
Yet their votes were counted (you're giving us the counts). And after counting these votes, the candidate didn't have enough to become president, electoral college or not.I'm sure it can be improved since it is now technically possible to count all votes directly. It would not have helped Perot one bit, but it would have helped Gore.

I'm telling you that the popular vote doesn't matter, it is the electoral vote. It doesn't matter if Ross Perot didn't received the majority of the popular vote or not. At least 20 % of the electoral college should have represented 20 percent of the american popular vote. That means for every district were the majority of voters voted for Ross Perot, the electoral constituent that that particular district elected did NOT vote for Ross Perot.
 
  • #15
And for anyone who actually wants to vote, your home better not be foreclosed:

http://www.michiganmessenger.com/4076/lose-your-house-lose-your-vote
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #16
Benzoate said:
I'm telling you that the popular vote doesn't matter, it is the electoral vote. It doesn't matter if Ross Perot didn't received the majority of the popular vote or not. At least 20 % of the electoral college should have represented 20 percent of the american popular vote. That means for every district were the majority of voters voted for Ross Perot, the electoral constituent that that particular district elected did NOT vote for Ross Perot.

But the electoral college vote is not independent of the votes of the population-- it's just the way your electoral system works! In the voting system that you favour, the electoral college is redundant, since the winner of the popular vote would just win the presidency. Is this a more simple system? Yes, of course it is: but then, there is a reason that the elections are done in this way. (And it probably has something to do with turbo's comments above.)
 
  • #17
Benzoate said:
At least 20 % of the electoral college should have represented 20 percent of the american popular vote.
...which still would not have made Perot president since Clinton got 43%. That's more than 20%.

Please don't vote.
 
Last edited:
  • #18
MeJennifer said:
And for anyone who actually wants to vote, your home better not be foreclosed:

http://www.michiganmessenger.com/4076/lose-your-house-lose-your-vote

But those are exactly the people they don't want voting - victims of the Bush - McCain backed - lack of financial regulation that allowed indiscriminate mortgaging that led to the sub-prime melt down and the downturn in the economy that cost so many of them their homes.

Why those would be the very people they want to disenfranchise.

All under the banner of change and Government reform.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #19
There is something I remember from Political Science, electoral salience I believe it is called. The closer the election, the more influence your vote has, so the higher the amount of salience. Like a voter in Ohio has a lot of influence over whom is elected President, while a voter in California or Texas as virtually no influence.

But even if you live in the 40 States where your vote is not likely to have a big effect on the outcome of the Presidential election, there are still many reasons to be involved. You can still contribute money or time to a campaign and there are many other offices and issues voted on every election where your vote is much more salient.

I do tend to agree that the Presidential election this year holds the least interest for me ever, because I really do not feel that there is nearly as much at stake as in the last two elections, but I am still going to vote, even though I know that, as a California voter, my Presidential choice means bupkis.

I also realize it is disappointing to watch the media focus on trivial issues about the candidates personal lives rather than on substantive issues like the economy, foreign policy, education, the budget, taxes, et cetera.
 
  • #20
out of whack said:
...which would still have not made Perot president since Clinton got 43%. That's more than 20%.

Please don't vote.

Your missing the point. It doesn't matter if Ross Perot won the election or not, what matters is why didn't the electoral college count the voters that voted for Ross Perot. Electoral college was put into placed to represent the popular vote. 20 million voters did not get represented. Bush also didn't win the election and he received a proportion of the electoral vote.

The electoral college is there to represent all Americans who participate in the Presidential election, not to vote for someone who is likely to win the election.
 
Last edited:
  • #21
LowlyPion said:
But those are exactly the people they don't want voting - victims of the Bush - McCain backed - lack of financial regulation that allowed indiscriminate mortgaging that led to the sub-prime melt down and the downturn in the economy that cost so many of them their homes.
Not only that but now those same people want to bail out the banks who got themselves committed to those risky transactions. Privatize gains and socialize losses, what a sick morality!
 
  • #22
Evo said:
No, you are wrong because you are thinking of only your single vote. If you are asking if one vote can change the election, no, but you asked the broader question of people if they think their vote counts and the answer is yes. What you choose to do with your personal vote may be meaningless, but as a whole, yes, votes count.

I disagree with the whole premise actually.

What choice is there but than to vote. It's a matter of conscience and social duty to express your opinion, participate in selecting your representative, irrespective of whether you may think your vote individually doesn't count.

Otherwise, through apathy you extinguish the very life of a democracy and cede it directly into the hands of an activist fascist minority that inevitably will succumb to the syren call of corruption that power inevitably beckons.
 
  • #23
MeJennifer said:
Not only that but now those same people want to bail out the banks who got themselves committed to those risky transactions. Privatize gains and socialize losses, what a sick morality!

Which as it turns out, with McCain's close involvement with Phil Graham, a registered lobbyist for these very interests that brought us the fiscal mess, whose agenda McCain has espoused through the years - deregulation - places McCain at the inner sanctum of the problems - problems that need fixing far worse than the imagined reform that Washington would require.

What Washington needs is some backbone, and sadly McCain has demonstrated through the years from the Keating scandal in the late 80's through his more recent reliance on Phil Graham as his top economic adviser (while Graham was registered as a lobbyist for banking interests) little ethical and moral leadership in looking out for the people's interest.
 
  • #24
LowlyPion said:
But those are exactly the people they don't want voting - victims of the Bush - McCain backed - lack of financial regulation that allowed indiscriminate mortgaging that led to the sub-prime melt down and the downturn in the economy that cost so many of them their homes.

Why those would be the very people they want to disenfranchise.

All under the banner of change and Government reform.
Fortunately their vote doesn't count anyways, as you explained in the OP. :rolleyes:

EDIT: Just caught this, I was replying the wrong person... Sorry.

why didn't the electoral college count the voters that voted for Ross Perot.
They did. After counting them all, Perot got none of his reps elected.

I know you would have liked to see proportional representation. Assume you got that. Then the result would have been... Perot still loses. Comes in third. Still. At least you would be happier with that loss.
 
Last edited:
  • #25
Benzoate said:
Your missing the point. It doesn't matter if Ross Perot won the election or not, what matters is why didn't the electoral college count the voters that voted for Ross Perot. Electoral college was put into placed to represent the popular vote. 20 million voters did not get represented. Bush also didn't win the election and he received a proportion of the electoral vote.

The electoral college is there to represent all Americans who participate in the Presidential election, not to vote for someone who is likely to win the election.

If Perot had won the popular vote in anyone State, then that State would have cast their votes for Perot. It is a winner-take-all system. Also, don't mistake statistical anomalies for misrepresentation. The popular and electoral counts can differ slightly due to the math - winner take all.

I campaigned for Perot but was glad to see him lose and voted for Clinton. He lost because he proved himself to be unpredicatable and dangerous. Basically, it only took about thirty minutes on Meet the Press and the Perot campaign was over. He couldn't pass the Russert test. The guy was a loose cannon. Get over it.

If you want to get upset about something, then consider the fraud in the last election - almost certainly rigged machines - and the States using voting machines in which the vote can't be verified later. THAT is an abonimation. It amounts to a secret count, which is unconstitutional. This must change.
 
Last edited:
  • #26
Benzoate said:
The electoral college is there to represent all Americans who participate in the Presidential election, not to vote for someone who is likely to win the election.

The Electoral College is an anachronism that hearkens to a day when there were more than 2 parties, and travel and communication was hand to hand, and there was not necessarily any prospect of knowing who would have won an election in any immediate manner and hence was created - separate of the Congress unless inconclusive - to vote directly for the president and vice president.

I suspect that eventually the US may become sufficiently homogeneous to warrant a direct plebiscite in place of the Electoral College. But so long as there are regional factions, with varying agendas, it apparently operates as a balance against regions dominating other regions, which was a concern compromised for by the framers throughout the Constitution.
 
  • #27
The real issue is the winner take all, which speaks to States' autonomy. As a libertarian, one should appreciate this fact in particular.
 
  • #28
Benzoate said:
Your missing the point. It doesn't matter if Ross Perot won the election or not, what matters is why didn't the electoral college count the voters that voted for Ross Perot.
Because that's just not how the electoral college works.

It is one thing to say that you don't agree with how it works (a lot of people don't), but it is quite wrong to say that it doesn't "represent the popular vote". Heck, if it were just a copy of the popular vote, there'd be absolutely no point in having it. The way it represents the popular vote is different from a straight proportion, but it does serve a purpose and it does mean that peoples' votes still matter.
The electoral college is there to represent all Americans who participate in the Presidential election, not to vote for someone who is likely to win the election.
You are mischaracterizing what it does.
 
  • #29
russ_watters said:
You are mischaracterizing what it does.

Most people here know that Russ and I agree on very little, but we agree on this one. The electoral college may be dated, but it isn't anti-democratic.
 
  • #30
Eliminating the Electoral College is somewhat akin to changing the rules of tennis, that the winner be determined by total overall points won/lost as opposed to scoring games and sets to determine the winner.

It serves to supply a regional balance so the people of more populous states don't dominate the less populated ones. Or the people on the Right Coast don't dominate the People on the Left Coast. It looks to be consistent with the idea not to let the few be tyrannized by the many or the many by the few.
 
  • #31
On a related and quite humorous subject, in Canadian democracy voters don't get to select their Prime Minister and they have no say regarding their head of state. Voters only pick their local member of parliament. The leader of the party with the most elected members becomes Prime Minister even if he was personally defeated. The Prime Minister (not the voters) selects the Governor General who represents Canada's unelected monarch from England (not a Canadian). The Prime Minister also hand picks senators. It's just hilarious.
 
  • #32
russ_watters said:
Because that's just not how the electoral college works.

It is one thing to say that you don't agree with how it works (a lot of people don't), but it is quite wrong to say that it doesn't "represent the popular vote". Heck, if it were just a copy of the popular vote, there'd be absolutely no point in having it. The way it represents the popular vote is different from a straight proportion, but it does serve a purpose and it does mean that peoples' votes still matter. You are mischaracterizing what it does.

I probably should say it only represents the popular voters who voted for the major candidates, and not the third party vote, even if a significant portion of voters voted for a major third candidate. and it does not and it should. Must I reiterate that 20 million voters voted in a candidate who was not a democrat or a republican and their vote would not have matter either what because the electoral vote determines who becomes president , not a single elector represent the Ross Perot vote. So how can you argue russ_waters that the electors represent all of the popular vote, when only the electors of the 1992 elections, represented 80 % of the popular vote. The electors are supposed to be the mouthpieces for the american public; they are NOT to supposed to vote for their own interest, and it was very apparent that they voted for their own interests in the 1992. I do not see how anyone can deny otherwise.

The only way to change the voting process(at least for the US presidential election) , is to eliminate the electoral college, and write a law that says the popular vote only counts. Otherwise, if you are going to vote for a third party candidate, There is no point in participating in a presidential election, unless you just vote to fight against to two-party system. Even when the american people almost exclusively vote for the third party candiates, there is a chance that the electoral vote will be different from the popular vote. notable examples include : the presidential election of 1888 , 1876, and of course the infamous 2000 presidential election.

You are right. The electoral college is based on a 'winner take all system'. That doesn't mean it always votes for the best interests of the people. In some cases, votes of the less popular states count more than the votes of the more popular states, when the opposite should occur.
 
  • #33
LowlyPion said:
It serves to supply a regional balance so the people of more populous states don't dominate the less populated ones. Or the people on the Right Coast don't dominate the People on the Left Coast. It looks to be consistent with the idea not to let the few be tyrannized by the many or the many by the few.

DING! We have a winner. It is all about fairness and balance. However, again, we are talking about the winner-take-all system. If the electoral college cast their votes based on proportional representation, this would not be the case.
 
  • #34
I think it is very important for the rest of you to know that your vote doesn't count and there is absolutely no reason to go to the polls on election day.

My goal is always to encourage low turnout, that way my vote counts more
 
  • #35
Benzoate said:
In some cases, votes of the less popular states count more than the votes of the more popular states, when the opposite should occur.

But maybe not. Consider that the less populous states might have different agendas in a National sense. That the issues that relate to agriculture might be viewed differently in Iowa than in Queens. And supplying that balance - to counter what may be an imbalance is a feedback system that may serve to dampen National oscillations - by disproportionately tilting things slightly toward minorities - to insure that the interest of all will remain more balanced and that the promise of life, liberty and the happiness pursuit may be generally realized, and not just by those that may enjoy a current majority.
 

Similar threads

Replies
1
Views
584
Replies
40
Views
4K
  • General Discussion
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • General Discussion
Replies
1
Views
858
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
42
Views
4K
Replies
31
Views
4K
  • General Discussion
Replies
12
Views
13K
  • General Discussion
Replies
5
Views
3K
Replies
4
Views
3K
Back
Top