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Media spreads untrue results of Presidential debate

Who really won the election?

Published: Monday, November 26, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 26, 2012 14:11

As I settled in to watch the election coverage Tuesday night, I prepared for the drawn out battle that pundits had been predicting for months. I thought back to the countless polls rifled off over the last 18 months predicting a tight race indicating a divided nation. I recalled the overwhelming ad campaigns that inundated the residents of our swing state. I thought of my own decision I had made at the polls hours earlier. And then suddenly it was over. Only moments after the polls had been closed in the western states with millions of votes yet to be counted Barack Obama had been named the winner, reelected for a second term. With these millions of votes still hanging in the balance, and a winner declared, how much does an individual’s vote really count?

I stared at the television shocked by the abrupt halt to the media deliberation. The poll ticker stopped at the bottom of the screen. The election was over. But could it really be over? Only a margin of each state’s votes had been reported. Provisional ballots seemed entirely ignored. Mitt Romney still led in the popular vote by 2 million- and it was over? It was. President Obama’s victories in key states drove his electoral vote total over the 270 required to win the presidency. Even as someone who voted for the incumbent, I couldn’t escape a feeling of disappointment.

Allow me to explain. We live in a country that struggles with poor voter turnout. In fact, millions of dollars are spent on campaigns that encourage people to simply show up and vote. We are told that every vote counts, but does our system say the same?

Presidents are selected in the United States by votes cast by the 538 electors chosen by candidates to represent them in the Electoral College. Each state in the Union gets a certain number of electors based on its population. If a candidate wins a majority vote in a state his or her electors are sent to vote on behalf of that state, and, most likely, in favor of that candidate. These votes are counted by congress and the winner of a simple majority is elected president. Originally the Founding Fathers saw this system as a compromise between allowing citizens to choose the president, or having congress make that decision for them. This compromise takes a step away from democracy, a step away from the individual deciding our president.

I ask again – does every vote count? With a system that negates the national popular vote, does individual voting actually matter? From the Democrats who voted in Texas, to the Republicans who voted in California, and the millions of votes that remained uncounted as Barack Obama was declared the next president; their vote was nothing more than a bump to the one ineffectual statistic in the entire race, the popular vote. In our country’s pursuit of equality and fairness, should these voter inequalities be addressed? Is it time for a change?

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