In a recent article on Upworthy, they list 3 major reasons millions don’t vote. The first reason listed is Gerrymandering, or the redrawing of district lines to suit a candidate or political party. This is easily one of the most widespread forms of government corruption, yet many fail to recognize the severity of its impact. The current primary system, something Follow My Vote follows closely, is the second reason listed in the article. Whether a primary is open or closed could easily determine the types of candidates that can run. Finally, the article discusses the Electoral College, a group of unknown elected representatives which voters ultimately rely on to side with the popular vote of their state.
Listed above is an image that demonstrates how a district could be redrawn to favor the red party. By seemingly taking a pen and drawing lines with no geographical rhyme or reason, an election could easily be fixed. This is gerrymandering, and nearly all counties are subjected to it. With this amount of widespread corruption, is it any wonder that folks are displeased with the current process?
“Contrary to one popular misconception about the practice, the point of gerrymandering isn’t to draw yourself a collection of overwhelmingly safe seats. Rather, it’s to give your opponents a small number of safe seats, while drawing yourself a larger number of seats that are not quite as safe, but that you can expect to win comfortably”
– Christopher Ingram, Washington Post
Currently, it is up to each individual state on what type of primary system they will use for elections. One version is called a closed primary. For example, this means that in order to vote for what candidate would represent the Republican ticket, you would have to register as a Republican to participate in that primary. This means that neither Democrat nor Independent voters have any say in this stage of the process. The second option is an open primary or “top-two” primary. The name says it all, and this essentially means that the top two candidates are voted on by everyone (regardless of political affiliation) to face-off in a general election. Some states are moving to this process, the most notable being Nebraska, which doesn’t even list political affiliation next to a candidate’s name.
Finally, the article lists the electoral college as the last reason millions don’t vote. For those unfamiliar with how the system works, the popular vote actually does not matter.
“When you cast your vote for president, you also vote for an often-unnamed elector who will cast a ballot in a separate election that ultimately will choose the president”
These unnamed electors are supposed to vote in favor with the popular vote of their state. However, anyone old enough to remember the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election, knows that Gore actually won the popular vote in Florida, with Bush securing the majority of the electoral votes. If our system is not one person, one vote, there could be an argument made as to why any citizen’s vote matters at all.
Our election process is not all doom and gloom, but we can do so much better! Each of these major reasons people don’t vote can all be adjusted. By being aware of local gerrymandering, citizens can lobby their politicians to hold them accountable. By eliminating closed primaries and implementing a nonpartisan top-two system, we can make sure that the best candidates are in the running. Finally, by using a decentralized, transparent online voting system, citizens can audit the vote to hold their electors accountable to vote in favor with state.
About the author: Tyler Molihan is a Marketing Intern at Follow My Vote. He hopes to increase awareness about the benefits of online voting systems.