By fall of 2016, America reached a new milestone: over 200 million people were registered to vote prior to the election. Despite that high figure, turnout among registered voters in 2016 was lackluster. However, we cannot blame voters or candidates for the flaws in our presidential electoral system.
Among the non-voters who were registered to vote, 15% said they did not vote because they did not think their vote would count or make a difference. Another 25% of registered voters cited that they disliked the candidates and issues as the reason for why they avoided the polls in 2016. These two arguments for not voting go hand-in-hand, unfortunately, with the consequences of our current electoral process. Registered voters who did not vote for president in 2016 recognize what Making Every Vote Count has found to be a vital truth—namely that most votes do not matter in the final selection of the president of the United States. Under the current system, some votes matter much more than others because of the states in which they are cast. This is not because of a state’s size or geography but because of the predictability of which candidate will win in that state. Since the number of states considered too close to call can be narrowed down well in advance of Election Day, and votes in the most closely contested states determine the national winner, many voters are entirely left out of the decision of who becomes president, and the issues candidates choose to focus on are also not likely to appeal to the interests of most Americans nationwide because candidates know most votes do not matter in electing the president.
A viable and pragmatic solution would be to guarantee all voters equal voting power. States have this ability. And abandoning the “winner-take-all” model would be a very American idea. After all, in every other election in our country today, except the one to elect the president, the person who receives the most votes is the winner. If you agree, consider being a supporter of Making Every Vote Count. Click this button to see what is entailed in signing up.