Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Against Voting…Again

You seriously want to vote for one of these guys?

It’s time for my biennial plea for you to abstain from voting. I’ve got my work cut out for me: As election season (mercifully) draws to an end, we’ve reached the time of year when everyone and their mother takes time to urge you to vote, no matter who you vote for, as if the mere act of casting a vote is somehow worthwhile.

What goes conspicuously unmentioned in all these pleas to vote is the simple fact that your vote is extremely unlikely to make a difference. This is nothing but a statement of mathematical fact: The odds of an election in which millions of votes are cast being decided by one vote* are essentially zero. Even in smaller, more local races, or elections that are extremely close, the odds of your vote being decisive are still incredibly small. The only elections that have been decided by one vote were races in which fewer than 10,000 votes were cast. Continue reading

This Day in Revisionist History

This is a Wednesday column, so why is it running on Thursday? Well, while on assignment in the Middle East, Jake was captured by Afghanis. They have since released him after he quickly volunteered a few national secrets (don’t worry–not our national secrets…stupid terrorists.) But enough already. Let’s leave the revising of events to the column itself:

December 1

“Oh, come on…is that an actual rule?”

–Delaware Congressman Louis McLane, after learning that because none of the candidates had won a majority of electoral votes, the 1824 presidential election would be decided by the House of Representatives.

The 12th amendment has never been very popular, and its only saving grace has been the persistence of the two-party system in the United States. But know that on this day in 1824, due to the dissolution of a unified Federalist party, there was only one party, which had distributed its electoral support among four candidates. Although Andrew Jackson received the highest number of votes, he did not receive a majority, which required what today we would call a run-off, in which the top three candidates would vie for votes in a House of Representatives election. Continue reading