Paul Harvey was a story teller
Years ago, Paul Harvey, a radio broadcaster, regaled us with behind-the-scenes segments called, “The rest of the story.” The telling of these stories were fun and often a surprise. While entertaining, they also informed us of a bit of overlooked history and a better appreciation of our current reality.
The full story of the 2016 presidential election should be told
Amid all of the news running 24/7, the books written, and the ensuing political upheaval, it may be hard to believe there is more to the 2016 presidential election story. Further, the story I’m about to unfold is not a secret nor is it lurking behind some nefarious cover-up. No, it’s right in front of us, splashed all over our television screens and in the print media with hardly a nod of acknowledgement.
The story is rather easy to ignore, though, because many simply are either not curious enough or can’t believe what they see. In other words, the story gets ignored.
The Electoral College results of 2016 story
Let’s take a look at what we all saw after the 2016 election. The Electoral College map depicted below presents the state-by-state results. The states in red were won by Trump; Clinton won the blue states. Maine split their votes, one for Trump and three for Clinton.
You may notice that two states are gray to depict the seven unfaithful electors from Texas and Washington. Not all electoral votes cast, then, were for either Trump or Clinton.
There is more to the 2016 story
That’s how we all voted, right? No, it’s not and that’s the rest of the story.
Votes are cast in every state for all candidates appearing on the state ballot. State ballots, by the way, are not always the same across the country. But that, too, is another story.
So the red states you see are also hiding votes for Clinton. The blue states you see are hiding votes for Trump. But you knew that, right?
There’s still more to the story.
The graphic depicts the results of the Electoral College results. Buried still further in its mix, not depicted at all, are the registered voters who did not vote. They are not represented here. Votes not cast are simply not part of the Electoral College results.
Here’s where I could roll out a lot of numbers and statistics, but I’m hoping you’ll stay with me as the rest of the story unfolds. So instead, I’ll use a graphic representation similar to the one above to show what truly happened in 2016.
First, I need to remind you that only votes cast for a candidate who wins the plurality of votes cast in a state count. All of the rest are ignored. That’s because the winner-takes-all aspect of our voting system cuts them out of consideration.
Winner-takes-all steals the full story
It’s important to realize that the winner-takes-all aspect is NOT part of the Electoral College. It’s an add-on malady foisted upon us way back in the mid 1880’s. It’s a problem that limits the full effectiveness of our Electoral College.
Let’s get back to our story.
So, what does the graphic look like if we show how nonvoters and the votes tossed aside affect the picture? Here’s a graphic showing this result:
The white space in this picture represents the voters who did not vote and the votes cast aside due to the winner-takes-all aspect.
It’s important to note that Maine and Nebraska also suffer from the winner-takes-all problem though they use a congressional district approach.
The 2016 election story by the numbers
Want some numbers? There were over 63 million votes that did not count due to the winner-takes-all approach. Stated another way, only a little more than 37% of the registered voters mattered in the election. Again, it’s not the fault of the Electoral College!
Let’s add in the 2016 the 30% of registered voters (61 million) who did not vote. It means almost 62% of registered voters (over 124 million) did not matter in 2016!
The 2016 results are not an anomaly. It usually takes around three registered voters to give us one viable presidential ballot.
Equal Voice Voting promises a better story
Equal Voice Voting promises that every vote counts and every state matters. If every state and Washington, D.C. had used Equal Voice Voting in 2016, here’s what our Electoral College voting results picture would look like:
I used purple here because each state would count a mix of red and blue (Republican and Democrat) votes. Votes cast for other political party candidates would also be counted. Purple seems to be a good representative blend.
The white parts of every state still depict those voters who did not vote. Which, I contend, would probably be reduced since every vote would count.
Which Electoral College voting results would you prefer? Wouldn’t you rather vote in a state where your vote always counted, regardless of who you voted for? Tell your legislators to get rid of the winner-takes-all aspect when we elect our president. Tell them you want your vote to always count and for your state to always matter. Tell them you favor Equal Voice Voting and you want your state to rid itself of the winner-takes-all approach!