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Your Vote Doesn’t Matter. . .Vote Anyway, It’s Important

October 15, 2020

The right of citizens of the United State to vote in any primary or other election for Presidetn or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
– Twenty-Fourth Amendment, US Constitution

Did you know there is not a “you get to vote” section of the US Constitution. It’s such an integral right and yet, it’s defined in various locations in that document.

  • 15th Amendment: African Americans granted right to vote
  • 19th Amendment: Women granted the right to vote
  • 23rd Amendment: Voting rights granted to Washington DC residents and US territories
  • 24th Amendment: No poll taxes
  • 26th Amendment: 18 years and older can vote
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

In addition several important court cases established our voting rights.

  • Baker v. Carr (1962)
  • Wesberry v Sanders (1964)

With all that history, voting must be pretty important, right?

I got my ballot in the mail today. Utah has had vote-by-mail in some form or other since 2014. This year, every county has vote by mail. I’m not an expert, but so far, I haven’t heard any issues of widespread voter fraud. Okay, actually, I haven’t heard of any voter fraud. Seems like the biggest issue we have is missionary moms filling out the ballots for their missionaries serving outside of Utah. (BTW, that’s illegal. Don’t do it.)

But, do vote. It’s important. Even though your vote doesn’t really matter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some naysayer suggesting elections are worthless, or worse, rigged. One of the amazing things about the American election system is how safe, secure and fair our elections are.

First let’s talk about “the big one.” We had elections every year, but we put a lot more attention on the presidential elections. And while there are a slew of candidates for president on the ballot, the race is really between the incumbant and the democratic challenger.

Utah, of course, is pretty conservative and hasn’t voted for the Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson was runnign for reelection.

But, Utah isn’t a complete bastion of Republicans. Salt Lake City regularly votes Democratic and Representative McAdams, of the Utah 4th District is a Democrat.

But, when it comes to president, Utah votes red. Does it matter? No. And Yes.

Utah has six electoral votes. Whichever candidate gets the most votes gets all six of our votes. A candidate needs 270 of the 538 available electoral votes to win the election. Our six might not seem like a lot, but six has, in the past been enough to make a difference.

In 2000 the winning candidate got 271 and the loser got 266. Utah voted for the winner. Had they switched, it would have been enough to swing the election to the opposite candidate.

So, our votes do matter, right? Well, if you voted for the demcoratic candidate your vote for president didn’t really count, right? Actually, the Republicans who voted, didn’t really get to vote for president. Unless you were one of the six electors.

Yeah, they are real people. Our votes decide who those six people will vote for. And whether a candidate wins the Utah popular vote by a single vote or by a million votes, they get the six electors.

So, our votes apparently don’t matter, right? Of course they do. A beautiful beach is made up of a million grains of sand. Does a single grain make a difference? I think so.

But, also remember that there is a lot more on the ballot than who will be president. There are state House elections. There is a governors race. There are Utah state constitutional amendments. There are judges. State Auditor. State Attorney General.

Those local races are often decided by a few hundred votes. And, there’s the fact that if you don’t vote, you forfeit the right to complain later. You don’t actually lose that right, of course. But, if you aren’t part of the solution, you are probably part of the problem.

So, go vote. Whether it’s by mail or in person, it’s important. Even if it doesn’t matter.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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