Opinion | All students should recognize that their vote really does count
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 01:09
A friend told me recently that they don’t intend to vote in the presidential election because it doesn’t matter since the Electoral College chooses the president.
Hopefully this upsets you on a number of levels, but primarily because you know that this is a complete misunderstanding of the election process.
Yes, electoral votes determine the outcome of an election, but only two states (Nebraska and Maine) do not operate on a winner-takes-all basis, meaning that the candidate that receives a majority (or plurality, if applicable) of the popular vote within a state wins all of the electoral votes from that state.
The college of electors is not voting independently of our cumulative wishes. Not only does your vote count but also if you are an Ohio resident then you should be feeling especially important this election year.
A vote in the Buckeye State will perhaps be more valuable than a vote elsewhere in the nation this election, in spite of losing two electoral votes since 2008 due to the 2010 census.
As number one at about 34 percent, Ohio ranked twice as high on a recent New York Times’ list of states likely to be the tipping point state (number two is Colorado).
This means that there is a 34 percent chance that Ohio will provide the decisive electoral vote in the election.
Furthermore, only one state (Nevada) ranks higher for return on investment of campaign resources than Ohio.
This can be interpreted as a measure of the likelihood of a single voter determining the winner of the Electoral College votes from that state. In the last ten elections, Ohio’s popular vote has coincided with the winning president. The only exception to this since 1944 was in 1960 when Nixon was defeated by Kennedy, and Nixon was our state’s number one choice.
At the moment, it looks like this year’s election is President Barack Obama’s to lose.
The latest polls indicate that Obama has a 77.5 percent chance of winning the national election, a number that is similar to his 76 percent chance of winning Ohio again.
As of Sept. 18, Obama’s margin in Ohio was about 3 percent, and I imagine last Sunday’s episode of “60 Minutes” and the spreading word of Romney’s “47 percent” comment has not cut that deficit at all. As the Romney ship is sinking, guess where it is being steered.
Romney’s stops in Cincinnati and Kettering are a part of a three-day “plan for a stronger middle class” bus tour in Ohio, which was kicked by Paul Ryan in Lima.
The Romney campaign clearly understands the importance of winning over Ohio voters. Not surprisingly, the Romney campaign spent close to twice as much on ads last week in Ohio, just north of 2.5 million, than it had in any week prior during the campaign.
At this point, both presidential candidates have spent more money on campaign ads in Ohio than any other battleground state. Lucky us, right?
Maybe it’s the constant in-your-face campaign publicity in this state that causes us to generally be more politically active than the typical American, but I like to think that it’s because we better understand the responsibility of being an informed citizen and active voter.
Nationally, voter turnout for the last presidential election was only about 56 percent of the voting age population (Ohio’s turnout was about 65 percent).
Isn’t this embarrassing not only as an American citizen, but also as a human being? Do we care this little about voicing our opinion about public affairs?
And it is unfortunately a typical turnout for a presidential election. If frustration with politicians is your excuse, that is all the more reason to voice your opinion and try to make changes. The people that we let take office are a reflection of our values as a society.
Your vote counts, and there needs to be a more widespread realization of this. The 2012 presidential debates are still yet to begin (Oct. 3), and the election is still almost a month and a half away. Mark your calendar, educate yourself and make an informed decision as to who you want to be the leader of our nation. Hopefully there will be 17,000 “I voted today” stickers around campus on Nov. 6.