Third Party & Independents Archives

Think Outside the Electoral College Box

Campaign season is here in full swing, and there are all kinds of television advertisement out for both candidates, trying to change voters minds. Or so I have heard on analysts at MSNBC. The truth is, if you do not live in a “swing state”, you are not going to get nearly as many TV adds, candidate visits or attention.

As this Washington Post article’s title says: “Every Vote Counts, but Swing Voters in Swing States Are Ones That Count Most”. I know we are all used to our electoral college form of electing a president, but it does not make sense. Our next president will make polices that affect every American, regardless of what state they are living in. Just because you are a Republican in Massachusetts or a Democrat in Texas doesn’t mean you wont have to obey the laws the next president puts in place to the same extent as a person in Florida- so why should your vote not count the same?

Many conservatives argue that since we have a federal government, the “states” need to have a say too, so vote shares should be counted up per state. While that argument is appealing in form, it lacks real substance. The candidates do not focus on states, as states, they merely focus on the people in the states that are “close”. This does not encourage or help federalism, it just helps the people in a swing state decide who the president is, while the minorities in non-swing states might as well vote for Daffy Duck.

So if you are living in Massachusetts, Texas, New York or any other “safe” state, think about if this system makes sense. Why is it that if you decided to register in Florida, your vote would suddenly matter more, your attention be more catered to, your interests be more pressing? We are all Americans- no matter what state we live in- our votes should all count equally. I close with a quote from one of the greatest founders at the constitutional convention, James Wilson:
“General Government is not an assemblage of States, but of individuals for certain political purposes... the individuals therefore not the States, ought to be represented in it.”

Posted by Misha Tseytlin at April 1, 2004 11:32 PM