Every four years, we hear the words “Electoral College” over and over again. But we never talk about what a ridiculous, and frankly undemocratic system it really is. The Electoral College gives vastly more power to different voters depending on what state they live in. If your state has less people, you have more power.
Not too may people live in Wyoming. But they have three electoral votes, or one for ever 135,000 voters. California is packed with people, but they have 55 electoral votes, or one for every 411,000 voters. And that’s totally out of proportion, because it means it takes three times as many Californians to earn one electoral vote, giving voters in Wyoming three times the power in the Electoral College. As a result of this system, your vote could count for less just because of where you live.
Infographics rule, right? – Yeah, well, it does seem unfair, but who cares if the Electoral College is kooky? I’m kooky. I have two turtles. – Okay, well, it gets worse, because the Electoral College also creates swing states. Oh, I love the swing states. They make election so exciting. Kind of like when my turtles move a little. – What? Exciting? I think the fact that the entire election is determined by just a handful of states is really messed up. For one thing, it means presidential candidates can ignore almost the entire country.
Anyway, swing states have so much power, that in recent elections, up to 80% of all the votes cast in America had no impact on the outcome. That includes your vote here in California. Well, some states are red states, and some states are blue states. – Actually, most states are pretty purple. In 2012, over 3 million Texans voted Democrat.
And almost five million Californians voted Republican. If electoral votes were awarded proportionately, in 2012, 16 of Texas’s electoral votes would have gone to Obama, and 20 of California’s would have gone to Romney but in our winner-take-all system, anyone who wants to vote for their state’s losing party might as well just stay home.
How about we all vote? – Wait, who are all these people? Oh, these are the electors. They’re the people who actually vote for President. – I thought the Electoral College was just a name? Nope. When we vote, we’re actually just picking our state’s electors. Then, those electors get together and cast their ballots for President. Mostly retired politicians and party flacks. They have to vote for who we choose. Actually, in 24 states, they can vote for whoever they want. And that’s happened over 80 times. In 2004, an elector in Minnesota cast his vote for someone named John Ewards. Which was almost the name of John Kerry’s running mate That elector’s vote didn’t go to John Kerry.
It went to the guy running for Vice President. The Electoral College is such a bad system, people have been trying to abolish it for centuries, but so far, it’s been politically impossible. Okay. Well, thank you for the information. I cannot believe our beautiful system has become so messed up.