Electoral College – Does Your Vote Matter?
The Electoral College does not have a mascot, nor does it have a student union.
Dr. John Sutherlin, Political Science Professor at ULM described the presidential electoral process,
The electoral college is a compromise so that the small states do not get obliterated in the presidential process by the larger states, but there is something more fundamental to this; the founding fathers did not fully trust majority politics, did not trust the people, so up until world war 1, we did not directly select the Senators. They were selected by the state Houses.
The professor explained that technically, when you go to vote, you're not actually voting for president, you are voting for a slate of electors who then go and vote later on, who can, and have often voted differently than what they were supposed to.
And though the electors in the electoral college do usually cast votes representative of their states, there is nothing binding them to follow their state's popular vote.
As Dr. Sutherlin put it,
It's one of those things where you're bound by your conscious. Obviously if you vote wrong you aren't going to go back. If you're and elector and you vote wrong it's back to Bunkie for you.
The electoral college system is unique to American politics and it's certainly not perfect, but there are many out there who would fight to defend it. Small states would fight to keep their voting power to ensure they get attention during the election process. It's in the best interest of the major parties to maintain the current system because Democrats would not want to give up a piece of California and New York, Republicans would not want to give up a piece of the solid south. Both parties are intrenched to it.
So the question becomes if the popular vote has zero impact on the actual outcome of the election, and the electors of the Electoral College don't have to follow the popular vote, what's the point of the average citizen voting in a presidential election?
Dr. Sutherlin gave it to us straight,
The "feel good" Chamber of Commerce answer is, "Do your American duty and get out there and vote".
The mathematical answer is that your one poorly guided, sad little vote doesn't count for much, however, it's every American's duty to cast a vote that will be ignored.
Despite his satirical analysis, the professor went on to explain that in many non-presidential races, one or two votes per precinct can and have determined outcomes.
I never miss an opportunity to vote. I love voting. When I lived in New Orleans I'd vote 4 or 5 times.
To listen to the full audio, click the player below.