Posts tagged Winner Take All System
Posts tagged Winner Take All System
It’s been a long time since I made a post, but my brother and I got into an argument about this the other day, so I thought I’d write my thoughts down.
Nowhere in the US Constitution does it mention that you have the right to vote.
It states that there can be no voting discrimination on the basis of race, color, previous condition of servitude, sex, or age, provided you’re over 18. (meaning the government can allow 16 year olds to vote and it’d be constitutional, but they cannot prevent people over 60 from voting.)
But nowhere does it specifically say that any person has the right to vote for any elected official. I mean it’s assumed and implied, but it’s never explicitly stated. Actually, the Constitution’s provisions for electing the president are specifically engineered to keep the process as removed from the people as possible while still preventing tyranny (hence, the electoral college). In fact, in the infamous Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case, the opinion stated, “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the electoral college.”
Translation: You can only vote if the state decides to let you. Of course, nowadays, every state lets you because there’d be riots if they didn’t. (Personally, I consider this a good thing.)
However, every state except Nebraska and Maine uses a winner-take-all system, which I shall explain briefly.
I’ll use Colorado as an example, because that’s where I live. CO has nine electoral votes (one for each legislative district, plus two). So when the state votes for President, every person casts their ballot (in a perfect world) and let’s say 49% vote for Candidate A and the other 51% vote for Candidate B. Well, because of how the winner-take-all system works, Candidate B gets all nine of those electoral college votes. See, when they say on the news that a state goes blue or red, that state goes all the way. It’s as if every eligible person in that state voted for the candidate that has the majority, however small. Things get trickier when we add in third parties. Party A gets 3%, Party B gets 47%, Party C gets 46%, and Party D gets 4%. Party B would then get all nine of CO’s electoral votes, even though they represent less than half of the state’s voters. Oops.
[Note: Nebraska and Maine don’t use the winner-take-all system. So if you live there, you have a completely different way of voting for the president and this doesn’t really apply to you. Sorry.]
So the question remains: If I live in a state such as Texas, a state that will always and forever have a majority of a certain party, is there really any point in me voting?
The answer: YES.
The point isn’t what party you affiliate with, which candidate you prefer, or whether or not you believe your vote makes a difference. The point is that, speaking purely constitutionally, voting is a privilege, not a right. Should you have the right to vote? Probably. But do you? In all reality, not really. So grab ahold of it and never let go. Vote as often as you legally can, and vote for who you genuinely think will do a good job, even if it’s a third party candidate or you have to write someone in. Vote. Please, I’m basically begging you here. Once you turn 18, vote every two years and do that until the day you die. It may not make a visible difference, but if every person takes this to heart, we’ll see a big change in the way things are run around here.
This isn’t about whether your one democratic vote in a sea of Republicans (or vice versa) will make a difference come election day. It’s about principles, and the ones our country was founded on. You want your rights? You want your freedoms? You better damn well exercise them, and you better make sure we put politicians in office who’ll respect them. So vote, please :)
And also, if you decide to make a very bad decision and not vote, you’re not allowed to bitch about the people in office. Just sayin’.
Got a politics or government topic you want me to write about? Shoot me an ask, fanmail, or submission! I’ll be happy to answer any questions, and share my personal opinions on topics of national, state, or local interest.
~The Constitution Geek.