Your Vote Counts… I Promise ?

What if I told you the upcoming presidential election is NOT a national election? What if I told you that your vote for president doesn’t count? What if I told you that the president isn’t actually elected until late December, 41 days AFTER you cast your vote?

You would probably call me a ‘conspiracy theorist’, ‘nutjob’, or ‘whacko’. And some of that may be true. But I swear that everything you are about to read is real and verifiable.

So what does your vote actually do? Well, the answer is nothing!

You see, unlike other elections that we have, the president is NOT elected by a majority of the popular vote. He is actually elected by a group of people called ‘electors’. These electors make up what’s called the electoral college. The electoral college is made up of 538 people who cast a ballot in late December, and it’s their vote that decides who gets to be president.

So when you vote in November, you are actually just voting on a state level and hoping that your candidate gets 51% or more of the popular vote to get that states electoral votes. There is one electoral vote per elector from your state. And they (the electors) have ‘promised’ to vote the way the you want. But promises were made to be broken as we shall see..

The popular vote is just the first step. And it awards the winner in each state a ‘promise’ of a certain number of electoral votes. To be elected president, the candidate need at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes. That’s one more than half. (yes a tie can happen!) But the electoral votes that you voted for are just ‘promises’ and NOT actual votes. So your voting to get your candidate a ‘promise’ of a vote on the real election day..

So now it’s time for the states electors to vote. This happens 41 days after the popular vote. The electors of each state meet at the states capitol (usually) where they take attendance and cast a real vote for president. I say real, because these votes are the ones that give you the election winner. Now here is the kicker. They don’t have to keep their promise to you during this vote. And as of this writing they have gone against your vote a staggering 156 times! These are called Faithless Electors. And in half the states they have every right to do just that. The other half of the states have laws that make it a misdemeanor to break their promised vote and they are subject to a fine. But the fine is so small that it hasn’t made a difference to anyone yet. Remember, so far we have had 156 Faithless Electors, and that is just the ones we know of. You see in some states, the electors vote anonymously, making it impossible to tell if or who has broken their promise.  Also, sometimes, some electors don’t even bother to show up to vote! Ha!.

We now know that your popular vote just gets you a promised electoral vote. And you need 270 out of 538 electoral votes to win. Here is the real, kicker, a majority of the popular vote, doesn’t always equal a majority of the electoral promised votes. In fact a candidate only needs to win the states of California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, and New Jersey with 51% of the vote for a total of exactly 270 electoral votes. 11 states out of 50! That’s it. They win. Even if they didn’t get a single vote in the other 39 states, they would still win. If that had happened in the 2008 election the results would have looked like this:

Candidate     Electoral Votes     Popular Votes
Obama         270*                34,195,037
McCain        268                 91,030,864

Amazing! Obama would have won with only a third of the votes. Now the real question is, has this actually happened? And the answer is YES! Surprisingly it has happened in 4 out of 44 elections. Or almost 10% of the time..

Now I am sure some of you are wondering about the who, what, and whys of these so called ‘electors’. Well there are 538 electors in total. Their is one for each member of the House (435). 1 for each Senator (100) and and 3 for Washington DC (3) for a total of 538! Now, I say 1 for each member of the House and Senate, but nobody in the House or Senate is actually an elector. The constitution strictly prohibits that. They didn’t want anybody employed by the government to vote for the president. (good idea). So where do the 538 good samaritans come from? Well, it depends on what state you live in. Some are elected by you locally. (I bet you didn’t know that) Some are appointed by your Governor or other state officials. And while who they are is not kept a secret, it’s not really publicized either. Can you guess why? Its because that most of them have strong party line ties and often are in charge of businesses who contribute large sums of money to get people elected. So if my candidate, whom I have donated millions to, doesn’t win my state, I can still cast my vote for him, regardless of the popular vote. Talk about buying an election…(156 broken promises? or 156 bought votes…)

So now you know that your vote doesn’t really count for anything other than a politicians promise. I don’t know about you, but, I personally don’t trust a promise made by any politician. Especially when they have already broken that promise 156 times!.

Here are some links for further reading:


  • Carl Sanborn

    Very well researched Chad. Citizenship 101.

    July 23, 2016 at 12:17 am
  • Diane Andersen

    Good blog. Maybe more people will understand how their government works and why it’s soo broken.

    July 24, 2016 at 6:19 am

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