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The Electoral College matters

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Lately, I've heard a lot of people talking about the upcoming presidential race. It seems that no one is actually happy with the presidential choices of the Old Parties. There's a lot of "hold your nose" talk, when it comes to voting this year.

Here's some good news: You don't have to hold your nose. The race is already over in Kentucky.

You may be asking, What? I have to vote for X to stop Y from becoming/remaining president!

But you don't. The Electoral College system means that your vote only counts in your state, and there the race is already decided in many states, including Kentucky.

In fact, there's no way Obama can win Kentucky's 8 Electoral votes. So, if you were concerned with the lesser-of-two-evils game, a common political tactic to corral voters -- worry no more!

You can vote for Gary Johnson without any worries.

The details:

The vote you cast for president isn't a national vote. When you vote for a candidate for president, you're really voting for a slate of Electors from your state. Each state gets a number of electors based on how many people they send to Congress. So, Kentucky will vote on 8 Electors (2 for Senators, 6 for Congressmen), who are symbolized by the name of a particular presidential candidate. These Electors are people trusted by the candidate or candidate's campaign to faithfully vote for them.

For instance, the LPKY presidential petition contains Electors you might recognize: Ken Moellman (me!), Eric Cranley (current LP chairman), and Ed Martin (former KY-3 Congressional candidate). These people are trusted LPKY members who would faithfully cast their electoral vote for Gary Johnson, were that option chosen by the majority of Kentuckians.

The same type of form (minus the requirement for 5,000 signatures) was submitted by the Democrats and Republicans. So, if you vote for Robamaney, you're actually voting for their slate of electors.

Kentucky, like most states, is a "winner takes all" state; in other words, if the candidate wins by 1 vote, or by 1,000,000 votes, they receive all 8 Electoral Votes. (In 2008, McCain recevied 56% of the popular vote, and all 8 of Kentucky's Electoral Votes.

The same rules are in effect for 2012. Most pundits have written-off Kentucky as a Republican win, no matter what.

Which means that the voters of Kentucky are actually free to vote how they so choose. There's no reason to get all whooped up about "we have to stop X", because the race is already over in Kentucky.

This empowers you, the voter, to vote for the best candidate, rather than against the worst, and you don't even need to worry about any of the "vote splitting" stuff that the Old Parties like to throw around.

This does two important things:

  1. It send a message to both Old Parties that you will not be force-fed bad candidates.
  2. It helps give New Parties access to the ballot. Kentucky unfortunately ties ballot access for political parties to the Presidential results. Competition leads to a better product from all competitiors. In the long-term this should help encourage better candidates from all parties (or they'll die off, if they don't).

I encourage you to spread this message to your friends and family. Look at the options you'll have on the ballot and vote for the one you like the best. Demand better candidates, for a better country. You won't regret it, and you'll help Kentucky and America by doing so.

And since originally writing this article, I've heard from a number of folks who still think that somehow, voting for a non-D/non-R is going to change the results in Kentucky. If you're one of those people, you're wrong. Using some quick math, and some stats that we know, we can disprove it!

Polls show that 50% of those who vote Libertarian wouldn't have otherwise voted. Ignoring that, studies show that people who voted Libertarian, and would have voted anyway, would have voted anywhere between 50/50 to 70/30 R/D.

Taking the most-extreme scenario, of 70/30 R/D (which gives the D candidate the best chance of winning), and using the vote totals from 2008 in KY, I did the math:

Scenario WINNER REPUBLICAN DEMOCRAT OTHER TOTAL VOTES
Votes Percent Votes Percent Votes Percent
0 percent Other Romney 1066705 58.40% 759803 41.60% 0 0.00% 1826508
2008 Actual Romney 1048462 57.40% 751985 41.17% 26061 1.43% 1826508
5 Percent Other Romney 1002777 54.90% 732405 40.10% 91325 5.00% 1826508
10 Percent Other Romney 938849 51.40% 705008 38.60% 182651 10.00% 1826508
25 Percent Other Romney 747066 40.90% 622815 34.10% 456627 25.00% 1826508
33 Percent Other Romney 644782 35.30% 578979 31.70% 602748 33.00% 1826508
Other Wins Johnson 627473 34.35% 571561 31.29% 627474 34.35% 1826508
D beats R Johnson 529625 29.00% 529626 29.00% 767258 42.01% 1826508

In green, you see the winner of every scenario. Even when the vote total for the Democratic candidate overcomes the vote total of the Republican candidate, the Other candidate wins.

Obama cannot win Kentucky. All 8 Electoral Votes will not go to Obama, under any circumstance.

And, if Gary Johnson wins some states, it wouldn't throw the election to either candidate, either. It would probably cause a situation where no candidate would get 270 Electoral Votes; in which case it goes to the US House for a decision. (And in that scenario, Romney would win. Republicans control 33 state delegations, Democrats only control 16).

Resources:

http://www.270towin.com/ -- Follow the Electoral College count.

Kentucky is "Solid Romney": http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/2012_elections_el...

Another Electoral College map: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/2012_elections_el...

Kentucky polls: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/ky/kentu...

(LAST UPDATED 20120802)