Stolen Elections and the Electoral College:

Stolen Elections and the Electoral College:

Can elections be stolen in the land of the free and the home of the brave—where “one person one vote” has been the bedrock democratic principle driving national electoral policy for the past 60 years?

That your and my vote should have equal weight goes back further still, to 1868, when the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbade states from doing anything to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

So, if I get two votes to cast for my candidate and you get one for yours, that would be a clear violation of these principles. Agreed?

But our votes are not equal and haven’t been throughout our history, especially in the most important election of all, the one for president.

For example, let’s say that you live in California, and I live in Wyoming. Each state gets Electoral College votes based on the number of its congressional districts plus two more for its U.S. Senate seats. Wyoming has 3 electors and California 54, a ratio of 1 to 18. Sounds reasonable, right?

Not even close. California’s population is 68 times, not 18 times, that of Wyoming. Therefore, California should be allotted 204 presidential electors to adhere to the one person one vote ideal. But today each elector in Wyoming stands for about 150,000 voters while each one in your state represents 500,000. Essentially, hypothetical me (I live in Connecticut) outvotes you by more than three to one: my “one vote” has 3.33 times the weight compared to your lonely digit. This imbalance applies to many other, primarily rural states as well: Vermont, South and North Dakota, Alaska, among others.

If we don’t fix this, we should change that self-satisfied democratic slogan to: “One person one vote—but don’t hold us to it.”

The impact of our votes also is diminished by the “winner take all” rule in all states except Maine and Nebraska, the only two that proportion their presidential electors based on the percentage of the votes candidates receive.

So, if 50.1 percent of California voters pick Joe Biden, the result is that 49.9 percent of the state’s electorate is disenfranchised. They voted for naught. If you want your presidential vote to count, win or lose, you’ll have to move to Nebraska or Maine.

This points up another issue with our elections: states set the rules on how to pick electors and how to conduct elections on all levels within their jurisdiction, from president right on down to dog catcher.

Unsurprisingly, states vary widely in their regulations. As Tina Turner sang, in another context, you can do things nice and easy or not so easy. The former would include early voting, “motor voting” that allow citizens to register to vote when they register their vehicles, and making election day a national holiday or on Saturday. What gives with Tuesdays?

Here in Connecticut voters can cast their ballots up to 14 days prior to a general election and can register to vote at the DMV. Most states offer some form of early voting, but not all. Alabama is sticking with Tuesdays and Mississippi requires an excuse. Absentee ballot provisions are all over the map, and new and stricter voter ID requirements have been passed recently by 36 states that insist they are worried about fraud. The real fraud is that these changes will result in fewer voters voting.

Another sad secret about American “democracy” is that many of us are already letting others make the big decisions for us. In the 2016 presidential race more than 2 in 5 registered voters did not vote. After you add in the number of unregistered citizens, nearly half of the nation stayed home. Some of that was clearly apathy or sheer laziness—or cynicism, just and otherwise, promoted by many of the candidates themselves. But it also is due to the challenging logistics and procedures of voting, and not just in the “not so easy” states.

This brings us back to stolen elections. They can and they have been stolen. No, it wasn’t the presidential election of 2020. Based on the principle of one man one vote, it was the 2016 election that was a stolen election, as was the 2000 race. Al Gore and Hillary Clinton received the most votes, but George W. Bush and Donald Trump were declared the winners based on our—dare I call it “rigged”—Electoral College system. It also happened in 1876 and 1888.

Another way the Electoral College skewers our politics and diminishes our votes, nay, makes them irrelevant, is that presidential races now boil down to a handful of swing states, such as Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania, where several thousand votes could mean a winner-take-all state determines the national outcome. Biden won’t be wooing voters in Wyoming and Trump won’t waste time courting Californians.Gerrymandering by state legislatures (my party right or wrong), in the periodic redistricting process for congressional seats, also impacts the integrity of our votes. The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in periodically to overturn the worst partisan abuses.

So how do we fix this? How about employing common sense—I know, silly me. But hear me out. Let’s elect our president by popular vote, period, as we have our U.S. Senators since 1913 (state legislatures had been deciding). No muss, no fuss, no swing states, no lawyers, party hacks or Electoral College. Just one person one vote, easy as pie.

What’s more, voting in national races should be guided by uniform national rules. There is no reason that an Alabama voter should have to work harder to vote than I do in Connecticut.

Our democracy is broken. We should fix it. The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution charged us with working toward a “more perfect union.” This would be a good place to start.