There is an age-old question which seems to afflict young voters each time a presidential election rolls around. Does my vote even matter? It’s an important question to contemplate, but the answer is a simple and astounding: “yes!”
First, I’d like to outline the reason why people even question the worth of their vote in a democracy. In the United States, we have this thing called the Electoral College, and the way it represents people works differently in each state. It is made up of 538 electors who cast the votes that will decide the President and Vice-President of the United States. The number of electors comes from the 100 Senators, 435 Representatives, and 3 electors that vote for the District of Columbia.
Whoever wins a majority of electoral votes will win the election. This is why people question the importance of their votes. I need you to know, however, that your vote definitely matters- a lot.
In 48 states, the candidate who wins the popular vote will win all of the electoral votes for their state. This idea is called “winner take all.” The two exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, where the state winner gets two Electors, and then the winner of each congressional district receives one Elector. This system allows for more than one candidate to receive electoral votes from a state. Both this system and the “winner take all” system don’t always work out according to this exact plan, but most of the time it does.
This is why a candidate can win the popular vote, which is where a candidate won the majority of votes from each citizen unweighted, but not the electoral or Presidency. An example of this is Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
I personally do not support the Electoral College system. The number of Electors in each state is based on representation, which is ultimately decided by area and population. I don’t like this because the area doesn’t vote, people do.
Despite the fact that I don’t like our current voting system, I still plan to vote! Your vote matters because it decides who the Electors in your state will vote for. Your vote matters because it impacts your congressional district. Whether or not you live in a swing state, whether or not you live in a state with a lot of Electors, whether or not you think your vote matters, it still has a huge impact.
37% of eligible voters are Gen Z and Millenials. About half of eligible voters aged 18-24 in the last election did not vote. High voter turnout for youth can make a huge difference in elections. Voter suppression would not exist if your vote didn’t have influence. Please, if you are eligible to vote, vote!
Vote to save the communities you care about. Vote for democracy. Vote for human rights. Regardless of the outcome, the 2020 Presidential election is going to remain historically relevant for a very long time. Be a part of that. Make your voice heard and vote.