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Patricia Johnson: My Vote Counts, Will Yours?

My Vote Counts, Will Yours?


By Patricia Johnson

Election judges are encouraged to cast absentee ballots prior to the date of the actual election to ensure their right to vote. This year a larger than normal turn out is expected at the polls so election judges will have little time for anything other than scheduled election duties.

When I completed my ballot last week, I knew exactly what would happen to it from the time it arrived at the election office, until it is brought back to the precinct for inclusion into the count on November 2, 2004.

After I filled in the ballot, I checked everything twice to make sure I hadn’t under voted or over voted as over votes do not count. An over vote is when you inadvertently vote for more than one candidate. Since there is no way of knowing ‘voter intent’ no vote will be recorded for any of the candidates with an over vote, therefore extreme care must be taken when completing your ballot.

It is estimated by the National Commission of Federal Election Reform (click here) that two million votes were lost in 2000 due to over voting and/or under voting.

In July of 2001 the CALTECH/MIT voting technology report was released (click here) indicating a loss of 4-6 million votes in the 2000 election. The report concluded there were 1.5 to 2 million votes lost due to confusing ballots and/or faulty equipment, 1.5 – 3 million votes lost due to registration problems, and another 1 million votes lost due to polling place operations.

On October 29, 2002 President Bush signed PL 107-252 Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) (click here). The provisions within HAVA are intended to eliminate many of the problems experienced in the 2000 election.

The 2000 election was a shock to the American voting public. Every step of the way we kept waiting for “justice” to wave a white flag and stop the insanity but it never happened. One day after another we sat glued to our TV’s watching, hoping and praying the nightmare would soon be over.

The nightmare never ended and on December 12, 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Bush v. Gore No. 00-949 (click here) and overturned the Florida Supreme Court decision for a recount, basically giving the presidency to George Bush on a silver platter.

The highest court in the land, our symbol of fairness, impartiality, honesty and integrity had betrayed us. If you can’t trust the U.S. Supreme Court, who can you trust?

Our answer was simple. When it comes to voting we will trust no one and nothing. George Bush convinced the American people that Saddam Hussein had WMD, and opponents of electronic voting machines convinced the American people electronic voting machines were unsafe.

How long will it take for us to realize DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machines are the safest and most accurate form of casting our votes? HAVA requires DRE’s to provide recounts, and if necessary, recreate an entire election, yet people are still demanding a “paper trail” for these devices. This $500.00 add-on for a paper trail does little except put additional profits into the pockets of the voting machine manufacturer.

Unfortunately, it appears U.S. taxpayers are eventually going to be paying the additional per unit fee for something that’s not really necessary. The operation of an electronic voting machine is similar to that of the black box located in an airliner – they record all activity and once the box is opened the data can be recreated from the starting point. When was the last time someone asked for a paper trail for the black box in an airplane?

India just completed an election using 100% electronic voting machines for 380 million voters. They also have an election system that is consistent throughout the country, where ours can only be described as a hodge-podge. Perhaps the solution to our voting woes is to outsource our votes to India.

We missed the boat on the electronic voting machines this year, but there is something we can do in this election to help change the outcome. In 2000 there were a total of 105.4 million votes cast, with 101.4 million votes going for either Bush or Gore. That means there were 4 million ‘wasted’ votes.

Why were the votes wasted?

Presidents are not elected by popular vote; they are elected by receiving a majority of electoral votes. Our next president will be the candidate receiving 270 or more electoral votes on November 2 (hopefully we’ll know the outcome in November).

Whichever party ticket wins the most popular votes in a state, wins all the electoral votes for that state (Maine and Nebraska are exceptions) (click here) so unless there is a possibility a candidate will win a large percentage of the votes in your state, there is absolutely no reason to vote for the candidate.

In 2000 Ralph Nader received a total of 2.74% of the entire vote in the United States. Gore received 48% of the vote while Bush received 47% of the vote, so you can readily see that any vote for Nader, or any other candidate was simply a wasted vote. If 10 times the number of people had voted for Nader the percentage of votes he received would still only be 27.4%

A review of the actual electoral vote indicates 266 electoral votes were cast for Gore and 271 electoral votes were cast for Bush – there were no electoral votes cast for Nader or any of the other candidates; therefore the votes were ‘wasted’.

Many of the today’s papers are reporting that Nader may have as much as 5% of the vote in some states. Do the math folks – there is no way he can receive any electoral votes with only 5% of the vote.

The papers may think they can snow you into casting a worthless vote, but you’re smarter than that – aren’t you?

2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL AND POPULAR VOTE
(Updated 12/2001)

STATE

ELECTORAL
VOTE

POPULAR VOTE

 

Bush (R)

Gore (D)

Bush (R)

Gore (D)

All Others

Total Vote

AL

9

 

941,173

692,611

32,488

1,666,272

AK

3

 

167,398

79,004

39,158

285,560

AZ

8

 

781,652

685,341

65,023

1,532,016

AR

6

 

472,940

422,768

26,073

921,781

CA

 

54

4,567,429

5,861,203

537,224

10,965,856

CO

8

 

883,748

738,227

119,393

1,741,368

CT

 

8

561,094

816,015

82,416

1,459,525

DE

 

3

137,288

180,068

10,266

327,622

DC

 

2*

18,073

171,923

11,898

201,894

FL

25

 

2,912,790

2,912,253

138,067

5,963,110

GA

13

 

1,419,720

1,116,230

60,854

2,596,804

HI

 

4

137,845

205,286

24,820

367,951

ID

4

 

336,937

138,637

26,047

501,621

IL

 

22

2,019,421

2,589,026

133,676

4,742,123

IN

12

 

1,245,836

901,980

51,486

2,199,302

IA

 

7

634,373

638,517

42,673

1,315,563

KS

6

 

622,332

399,276

50,610

1,072,218

KY

8

 

872,492

638,898

32,797

1,544,187

LA

9

 

927,871

792,344

45,441

1,765,656

ME

 

4

286,616

319,951

45,250

651,817

MD

 

10

813,797

1,145,782

65,901

2,025,480

MA

 

12

878,502

1,616,487

207,995

2,702,984

MI

 

18

1,953,139

2,170,418

108,944

4,232,501

MN

 

10

1,109,659

1,168,266

160,760

2,438,685

MS

7

 

572,844

404,614

16,726

994,184

MO

11

 

1,189,924

1,111,138

58,830

2,359,892

MT

3

 

240,178

137,126

33,693

410,997

NE

5

 

433,862

231,780

31,377

697,019

NV

4

 

301,575

279,978

27,417

608,970

NH

4

 

273,559

266,348

29,174

569,081

NJ

 

15

1,284,173

1,788,850

114,203

3,187,226

NM

 

5

286,417

286,783

25,405

598,605

NY

 

33

2,403,374

4,107,697

310,928

6,821,999

NC

14

 

1,631,163

1,257,692

22,407

2,911,262

ND

3

 

174,852

95,284

18,120

288,256

OH

21

 

2,351,209

2,186,190

168,058

4,705,457

OK

8

 

744,337

474,276

15,616

1,234,229

OR

 

7

713,577

720,342

100,049

1,533,968

PA

 

23

2,281,127

2,485,967

146,025

4,913,119

RI

 

4

130,555

249,508

29,049

409,112

SC

8

 

785,937

565,561

31,219

1,382,717

SD

3

 

190,700

118,804

6,765

316,269

TN

11

 

1,061,949

981,720

32,512

2,076,181

TX

32

 

3,799,639

2,433,746

174,252

6,407,637

UT

5

 

515,096

203,053

52,605

770,754

VT

 

3

119,775

149,022

25,511

294,308

VA

13

 

1,437,490

1,217,290

84,667

2,739,447

WA

 

11

1,108,864

1,247,652

130,917

2,487,433

WV

5

 

336,475

295,497

16,152

648,124

WI

 

11

1,237,279

1,242,987

118,341

2,598,607

WY

3

 

147,947

60,481

9,923

218,351

Total:

271

266

50,456,002
47.87%

50,999,897
48.38%

3,949,201
3.75%

105,405,100

* The District of Columbia has 3 electoral votes. Two votes were cast for Gore and the third vote was an abstention.
Total Electoral Vote = 538. Total Electoral Vote Needed to Win = 270

Voting Age Population (Census Bureau Population Survey for November 2000): 205,815,000
Percentage of Voting Age Population casting a vote for President: 51.21%center>

Source: Federal Election Commission

Patricia Johnson is a freelance writer and CEO of Articles and Answers. Visit us online at http://www.articlesandanswers.com

© 2004 Patricia Johnson

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