Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let me reiterate...

In my rant earlier today I said this "I'm a little disappointed that they win by electoral votes and not popular vote and because I live in Maryland my vote doesn't count for as much as those in Florida or California. Never understood, but I can't change it!"

And later in the day my friend Joelle commented to me and said, "...even if they went by popular vote, obama would have won." Actually, I did know this and Chris and I even discussed this morning that we were glad he won both the popular and electoral votes! I know electoral votes are based on population, I just don't get it.

I asked my boss (who's very much into politics) to tell me in plain English why votes are counted the way they are. He said basically the electoral college was formed because they were afraid that too many uneducated citizens would vote just to vote and they wouldn't know any better. YAY! That made me feel so much better! (note the sarcasm) Then I found out (really should have paid better attention in US History & Government in high school!) that the electors for each state are "suppose" to vote the way for the canidate their state voted for. For instance, Maryland has 10 electoral votes, 10 electors are suppose to vote for Obama... but they don't even have to listen to "their people" (us, the voters, the people that are suppose to matter!) and they can vote for whom ever they choose.... Am I the only one that sees this as a bad thing? Can someone please enlighten me as to why this is such a great plan? Seriously! And please don't send me comments comparing our Democracy to other countries that practice Communism or Dictatorship... I know Democracy is better than that! I know the US is the "Land of Freedom" and it could be a lot worse... but please, if you have a good explination of our government that makes it seem a lot more "for the people", PLEASE, fill me in!!!

I wish I enjoyed politics... but sorry blog fans if you do, I don't. I really just hope things get better here!

I hope you don't think that I'm a complete idiot on the subject... close! hehe... but I'm not completely uneducated, I just don't understand.


Anonymous said...

hey dear---this all has confused me forever, too. I couldn't vote because my registration was stuck back in nebraska...and i called for an absentee ballot too late. oh well! :)

MrsSpock said...

This is an excellent question. In fact, it was debated vehemently during the framing of the Constitution. You can go to the original source, The Federalist papers, written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.

This link explains the system:

and here:

This link gives a good argument about how the Electoral College actually protects the voice of a smaller state like yours:

And this gives a good case for keeping the system, but with some reforms:

Jen J said...


A lot of people feel the way that you do - so don't worry. You're not alone.

The idea is that we're casting our vote for president/vice-president, but we're really telling our state party which Electors we want to send to the meeting of the Electorate.

The Electoral College goes back to the days when voters weren't as informed about the candidates as we are now. The reason that the Electoral College is still valid is because each state is responsible to handle their own election. We all vote on the same day, but the method of voting in Oregon (mail-in-ballots) is different from Wisconsin where voters go and fill in bubbles next to their candidates - and some states are even using touch screens now. If they did away with the Electoral College the power to run the election is out of the hands of the states.

The other issue is that if the election were a large, national election only the large population areas would see any campaigning. A state like Indiana probably wouldn't get any attention because they just don't have the population.

Hope that makes sense and doesn't confuse you more!

Joelle said...

totally agree it's confusing. I 2nd JJ's answer (because I'd have no idea how to explain it!). But actually, only 4 presidents (i believe) in US history have won electoral votes but LOST the popular vote. So 99% of the time, the system works, even if it doesn't seem fair at the time.

Lindsey said...

No worries. I don't understand it all either.