Does my vote count?: The Electoral College explained

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Election time usually prompts conversations about the Electoral College voting system flaws, but it is important to know that every vote contributes to the final result.

Christa Slaton, New Mexico State University government professor, said voting is especially important now, when the country is so polarized.

“Their vote is more important than ever because the elections are decided by less than 1 percent of the vote and, if we have less than 60 percent of Americans voting in most presidential elections, it makes a huge difference,” said Slaton, explaining how in many states the result is based on less than a 1-percent margin difference in votes.

She said in the 2016 election, Florida was detrimental to the result because of the 1-percent difference in votes.

Slaton explained the Electoral College system was implemented in 1787, when the country was switching from confederation to federation.

It was a compromised voting system that included both state legislatures and the Congress, said Slaton.

“We’re casting our vote on the ballot that might have Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s name, but each state has a mechanism by which they identify electors for those particular candidates,” said Slaton, adding that on Nov. 3, voters are choosing electors that have pledged to vote for a certain candidate.

In December, the electors cast their vote to the Congress, where the vice president oversees the ballots. The Congress then confirms the winner of the presidential race.

The problem with this system, said Slaton, is that the Electoral votes are not distributed based on the population of each state, but by the number of seats in the Congress.

This means that smaller states might have an advantage over bigger states because they automatically get a minimum of two electoral votes.

Slaton gave an example of Wyoming, which is the smallest state by population and has three electoral votes, compared to California, which is the largest by population and has 55 electoral votes.

When the electoral votes are recalculated into each individual vote, this means one electoral college in Wyoming accounts for almost every 200,000 people, but one electoral vote in California accounts for every 700,000 people.

Because of this difference, some people oppose the Electoral College voting system.

Slaton still says that within every state, each vote can make a difference and consequentially change the course of the presidential race.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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