Sunday, November 2, 2008


Politics are abounding in our country. "VOTE FOR ME!" is the cry we hear day in and day out. Jeremy avidly listens to the radio to catch snippits of the current situations, and often tells me about issues. This has been going on for weeks! As election day approaches, I have steeled myself to enter boldly into the retirement center I will be voting at (what the heck?) and make a difference! MY vote will make a difference! At least I vehemently believed so a few days ago, until I was disabused of this.

I was talking to Jenny and Melissa about voting, who we were going to go for, what was fundamentally wrong with the candidates, etc., and Jenny said something that broke my little political heart: Our votes don't matter. My hopes and dreams for reshaping America whithered, crumpled, and turned into a pile of dust, which I choked on as I gasped in shock.

When did that happen?

How come I didn't know this?

What kind of democracy has us vote when our votes really don't matter?

It's like a glorified poll we are taking. "Who do YOU think is best?" "Hmmm...well, this do they stand for again? Oh okay...well, let's see...I am going to need to think about this for a minute..." "No worries, it really doesn't matter. We just wanted to know your opinion." "Oh, okay..wait, what??"

I have to admit I really don't know how the whole politicy governmenty thing works. I know there are rules, and what not, but I guess I wasn't paying attention the last 27 years.

Could someone explain it to me? Could they explain to me why my vote doesn't count?


Jen said...

I'm sorry Dara. . . I guess I was being a little bit on the cynical side. . .sorry to burst your bubble.

The Constitution allows each state legislature to choose electors. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted a winner-take-all popular vote rule where voters choose between statewide slates of electors pledged to vote for a specific presidential and vice presidential candidate. The candidate that wins the popular vote in the state wins the support of all of that state’s electors. U.S. presidential elections are basically a compilation of 51 separate and simultaneous elections (50 states plus the District of Columbia), rather than a single national election.

Basically, a candiate can win the popular vote and still lose the election because of the electoral votes. (see Al Gore 2000)

Amy said...

My short and sweet answer live in a red state. That's why I don't feel like my vote will tilt the balance one way or another. This fact makes me feel as though Utah is taken for granted in presidential elections. No one ever comes to "win us over" cuz it's a waste of money.

...Now, if you lived in Pennsylvania...

However, I've got my eyes on the local elections more so than the presidential. I feel THAT vote is out of my hands. But like the governor, district leaders, congressmen, etc...I feel everyone's vote DOES make a difference.

P.S. You still have to vote whether or not you feel it counts. Otherwise, you are an unworthy citizen of this country!

Davola said...

Yes, please don't vote. Then my vote becomes more valuable. When people say they are not going to vote, I agree with them and say it is probably best they didn't. I'm voting at 7 in the morning on the 4th!! Booya! I'm writing in for Bruce Willis!

Zaphod said...

In a country where 250,000,000 people live, it may not seem that one vote doesn't matter, but it does, for a couple of reasons.

It matters to you. You have taken part in the most extraordinary process in the history of mankind. You decide who you are going to vote for. You make the decision. You commit yourself to a particular point of view. If your decision was a bad one, in other words if your view prevails and it turns out badly, then you have learned something about yourself and the nature of good and evil. Nothing is lost if you don't make the same mistake twice, and even then, if you are a five-time learner, you only have three more choices to go before you get it right. A war between billions and billions of spirit children decided whether men would have a say in the way they lived their lives on the earth. The right side won. Enjoy the process; you've earned it.

The fact of the matter is that one vote does make a difference. I always think that it was my vote that broke the tie, made the final majority. When you vote, you identify yourself with a body of like-thinking individuals. If the vote was close and you are on the losing side, the winning side knows that they are not going to be able to force their agenda on you. They will have to seek some cooperation. If your like-thinking friends do not vote and the gap between the winners and losers is substantial, the winners might think that they have a right do do anything they want since they have such a clear mandate.

Vote! Make everyone think!

DebbieLou said...

Dave and I voted today and, just to make us feel extra special for doing our part, they gave us a sticker that says "My Vote Counts!". Awe, wasn't that so thoughtful? LOL!

There also was some lady camped out in a lawn chair holding a "Vote for Obama" sign. She said she planned on staying there all day. Now, I don't know about you, but don't most people already know who they want for President by the time they show up to such places? I have better things to do with my time, thank you very much. (Poor lady, she must be either lonely, seeking attention, bored, or a combination of the three.)

Amy said...

That's pretty sad. It's not like some undecided person is going to pass by that sign and all of a sudden have it click..."Oh, 'vote for Obama'...OKAY!"

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