Not all votes are equal in the Land of the Free

When it comes to voting for president, not all votes are created equal. Chances are yours will count less than a select few. Each state’s Electoral College votes are based on the size of its congressional delegation, not its population. Because of that, a presidential vote in Wyoming mathematically counts more than three times as much as a vote in Ohio, at least in terms of choosing electors…

A statistical analysis of the state-by-state voting-eligible population by The Associated Press shows that Wyoming has 139,000 eligible voters – those 18 and over, U.S. citizens and non-felons – for every presidential elector chosen in the state. In Ohio, it’s almost 476,000 per elector, and it’s nearly 478,000 in neighboring Pennsylvania.

But there’s mathematical weight and then there’s the reality of political power in a system where the president is decided not by the national popular vote but by an 18th century political compromise: the Electoral College…

When you combine voter-to-elector comparisons and battleground state populations, there are clear winners and losers in the upcoming election.

More than half the nation’s eligible voters live in states that are losers in both categories. Their states are not closely contested and have above-average ratios of voters to electors. This is true for people in 14 states with 51 percent of the nation’s eligible voters: California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana and Kentucky. Their votes count the least.

The biggest winners in the system, those whose votes count the most, live in just four states: Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada. They have low voter-to-elector ratios and are in battleground states. Only 4 percent of the nation’s eligible voters – 1 in 25 – live in those states…

It’s a terrible system; it’s the most undemocratic way of electing a chief executive in the world, ” said Paul Finkelman, a law professor at Albany Law School who teaches this year at Duke University. “There’s no other electoral system in the world where the person with the most votes doesn’t win…”

But Finkelman said his reading of history is that the compromise wasn’t about power between small and large states as much as it was about power of slave-holding states. He said James Madison wanted direct popular election of the president, but because African-American slaves wouldn’t count, that would give more power to the North. So the framers came up with a compromise to count each slave as three-fifths of a person for representation in Congress and presidential elections

No one in the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican will ever admit publicly to the bigotry that decides so much of their platform and policies. They even have to fiddle to alter the stupidity that would have them saying – it’s been this way a long time and that’s good enough. The sort of ideology that would keep buggy whip manufacturers in business while the rest of the world drives by.

Nope – just one more issue that needs to be sorted by voters having the backbone to push opportunist politicians out the door to seek an honest job. Replacing them with someone committed to knowledge, liberty, science and society moving forward.

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