Who are the uncounted?
Have you ever considered you may be among the uncounted? We want our ballots to count when we vote, right?
An uncounted voter is quite common, actually. We don’t always realize it. We focus our attention on the voting results instead. We often don’t realize our voting voice didn’t matter. Well, maybe it did; but steps were taken beforehand to ensure we were silenced before capturing a voting result.
The uncounted come in three flavors:
- Gerrymandered – getting grouped among the few so our votes are counted only as a minority and don’t matter
- Purged – being removed from voter roles because we have moved and/or have not voted for a while
- Ignored – voting for a presidential candidate who fails to carry the state we live in means our votes are not a part of the Electoral College result
Gerrymandering causes voters to be uncounted
Many of you already realize the perils of gerrymandering. Legislators redraw congressional districts according to the most recent census and where political party registrants live. It can get quite creative. It can cause voters to cast their ballots assuming they’re voting along with their neighbors. Sadly, they may find they’re really voting with citizens who mostly vote for another party. They are the uncounted because their vote doesn’t matter.
On January 11, 2018, Michael Wines wrote about gerrymandering in a New York Times article “Is Partisan Gerrymandering Legal? Why the Courts Are Divided.” He notes that three North Carolina federal judges ordered the congressional maps be redrawn. They were… “motivated by invidious partisan intent,” they said. Such cases are finding their way to the Supreme Court where they will be heard later this spring.
Some of you may object and say that a vote cast for a losing candidate or measure is still a counted vote. Not always. Consider this: should the validity of your vote (having it count) depend on where you live?
Purging causes voters to be uncounted
Then there’s the purging concern. On January 10, 2018, Adam Liptak in another New York Times article noted the concern over purging voter roles. The article, “Supreme Court Weighs Purge of Ohio Voting Rolls,” covered the arguments put forth to the Supreme Court (they’re getting busy over this stuff). It concerned the fairness of wiping voters off the roles. Voters were removed if they failed to vote in a few elections and failed to respond to a state notice. No vote plus no response leads to purging. Voters become members of the uncounted contingency.
The article notes that twelve Democratic-leaning states vied against seventeen Republican-leaning states over the issue. It is a thorny concern and an important one for any state. While we want the number of registered voters to be at a maximum, we also don’t want people on the rolls that may no longer exist (dead) or who have moved to another state.
But what of those voters who are still living and who still live in the state? What if they are simply now among the uncounted? Is it a kind of voter purgatory wherein they must pay some kind of additional penance or suffer their vote not being wanted (counted)?
Winner-takes-all causes voters to be uncounted
The most recent presidential election found that the nation’s voters cast around 2.8 million more votes for Hillary than they did for Trump. Yet Trump won. Votes cast for Hillary in California counted. Those not cast for her did not. Let me explain.
We create a large number of uncounted voters when we employ the winner-takes-all approach in our election process. We always use this approach whenever we translate the popular vote into the Electoral College for presidential elections.
While 2.8 million votes for Hillary in California did not change the Electoral College result, over 5 million votes there did not count! Nationally, over 63 million votes (voters) did not count! That includes Democrats and Republicans alike (as well as Green Party and Independents).
One’s vote should not depend on where they live. It’s a similar concern to the gerrymandering noted above. Your vote should always count!
Equal Voice Voting counts all votes
That’s why Equal Voice Voting is focused on these two principles:
- Every vote counts!
- Every state matters!
To be clear, Equal Voice Voting does not set out to remedy the gerrymandering issue. Nor does it focus on the purging process for voter roles. These two issues, however, underscore the concern of how we treat our voting citizens. We need to be cognizant of the uncounted amongst us and strive to remedy these problems.
Discuss this with your family and friends and neighbors. Contact your legislators and let them know that you don’t want voting citizens to be uncounted.
Remember that this is not a simple “side-issue” cause. It is about your vote and your neighbor’s vote and your friend’s vote and your relative’s vote. None of which should be among the uncounted.