mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Why I'm not sure I should try too hard to vote on Tuesday...

You will frequently hear people talk about how important it is to vote - how one vote can change elections, and how it's your civic duty, and how if you don't vote you shouldn't complain about the outcome of the elections.

There are probably situations where that is true - if you live somewhere that's a swing state, or in a hotly contested district, or there is some important ballot initiative up this year.

But that's not where I am. I'm a registered Republican - mostly for fiscal reasons - in the very blue state of Maryland. When it comes to presidential elections, it's pretty much guaranteed that a Dem will win. And based on polling in this exciting, non-presidential year, it looks like Dems will win no matter if I show up to the polls or not.

I like, which summarizes and analyzes multiple polls to give a pretty accurate picture of what the election will likely be - and despite the many places where things may change, they won't where I am. They are calling for a 95.2% chance of O'Malley remaining governor, a 99.9% chance that Dutch Ruppersberger will win the House in the 2nd district, and a 100% chance that Barb Milkulski will keep her senate seat and keep her important job of fighting against overpriced bagels.

And unlike California, we don't have any cool ballot initiatives, just your usual bond issues and esoteric questions like if Orphan's Court judges should be members of the bar.

Don't get me wrong, I plan on voting on Tuesday - I'm hoping to drag my ass out of bed early and go before work. But if I don't wake up on time, I seriously have to question if it's worth cutting my daily workout at the gym short just to make it to my polling place before it's 8pm close, given the fact that the races are anything but tight.

Despite the traditional platitudes about the importance of voting, there are plenty of elections where it really just isn't that important - where standing in line to cast a vote in an election where the spread is that large is completely irrational, a complete waste of time. Gerrymandering - drawing districts in such a way as to make it likely a given party's candidate will win - means most races just aren't competitive - and if your state is dark red or dark blue, your chance of getting a governor of the opposite side is slim, and since almost every state does electoral college votes on an all-or-nothing basis, if your candidate doesn't win your vote is pretty much meaningless.

To me, voting in many cases is one of those things that people do to feel good about themselves even though it's completely irrational.


At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Elections wouldn't be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

Now 2/3rds of the states and voters are ignored -- 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states, and big states like California, Georgia, New York, and Texas. The current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states, and not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution, ensure that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Voter turnout in the "battleground" states has been 67%, while turnout in the "spectator" states was 61%. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado-- 68%, Iowa --75%, Michigan-- 73%, Missouri-- 70%, New Hampshire-- 69%, Nevada-- 72%, New Mexico-- 76%, North Carolina-- 74%, Ohio-- 70%, Pennsylvania -- 78%, Virginia -- 74%, and Wisconsin -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska -- 70%, DC -- 76%, Delaware --75%, Maine -- 77%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%, and Vermont -- 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas --80%, Kentucky -- 80%, Mississippi --77%, Missouri -- 70%, North Carolina -- 74%, and Virginia -- 74%; and in other states polled: California -- 70%, Connecticut -- 74% , Massachusetts -- 73%, Minnesota -- 75%, New York -- 79%, Washington -- 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes -- 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.



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