Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Does Your Vote Count?

Were David Freese’s full count hits in game six the key factor in the Cardinal’s 2011 World Series championship? Was his bottom of the ninth inning hit this year against the Nationals the primary factor in the Cards making it to the 2012 Championship Series? Yes and no, but mostly no.

Yes, in a sense that without his final moment contributions, the Cards lose. But, no, in a sense that it took the entire team a full season to get to the point that David’s hits made the difference. Looking back at the season there are countless times when a play or a hit, made by a host of Cardinals, determined the outcome of the game. In both seasons, one additional loss and the Cards don’t make the playoffs, and David Freese remains an unknown.

On November 6th Americans will choose who will run their towns, counties, states, and country. It’s the one time when everyone is truly equal. No matter one’s socioeconomic position, their vote will count just much as that of Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Michael Moore, or Clint Eastwood. Choose the person in whom you hold the highest regard, and know that your vote is just as valuable as theirs. The aged who are casting what might be their last vote from the confines of a nursing home have just as much clout as the energetic eighteen year old voting for the first time. It’s a daunting notion. And a right that has been literally secured with blood, sweat, toil, and tears.

Elections in which the candidates are considered highly qualified by their respective parties are always close. City council contests among qualified candidates in a small town are decided by a few votes. Presidential elections are sometimes decided by the slimmest of margins. The difference in the 2000 Presidential election was less than one percent of the total votes cast.

Bringing that to the local level, estimate the number of voters in your precinct, multiply that number by 1% and that’s the potential difference in choosing the next President of the most powerful country on the planet.

How does that relate to David Freese? Every vote builds on the cumulative effect of the previous vote. The impact of the last vote depends on the previous votes. While each vote is important, no vote is more so than another. And if the election is close, each and every vote is critical. Your vote may be the very vote that makes the difference and elects the President. Vote!

But that’s not all.

Now that you’ve been convinced to vote, it’s important to note that there’s a chance your vote won’t count, anyway. In a Presidential election voters are technically casting their vote for an elector. Each state is allowed one elector per US Congressman. Every state has two, one for each Senator, and one for each US Representative. Twenty six states require electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote of the state; twenty four do not. Did you know that? No matter how you vote, your state’s electoral college may not bound to vote according to popular vote. This would be a good time to inquire as to your state’s requirements.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume the electors in every state vote according to the popular vote; they always have. What happens if there’s a tie in the Electoral College vote? If that happens, the US House of Representatives chooses the President and the Senate chooses the Vice President.  Sounds simple, right? There’s a catch. In the house, each state gets one vote. Wyoming, with a population of little more than 500,000 casts one vote alongside California’s single vote representing over 35 million. That’s a hoot, especially if you’re from a small, sparsely populated state.

The Senate does a floor vote, so the VP would most likely be chosen by the party with the majority.

Has there ever been a tie? Yes! Thomas Jefferson was chosen by the House after an Electoral College tie in 1800 and John Adams in 1824.Exercise your hard-earned right. Let your vote be the one that breaks the tie.

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