Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: November 6th, 2012
To vote or not to vote

That is the question. For some of us, it’s a no brainer. Of course, we’re going to vote. But for others, it isn’t such a simple task.

Some view witholding their vote as a way to protest the way the government is being run. Others feel apathetic or even pessimistic about the process, believing that no matter who they vote for, nothing will change. And still others believe the elections are rigged.

And then there is thw faction, which I fall into, that do vote, but don’t support the concept of the electoral college. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing research into this, because I’m admittedly pretty ignorant of the process. Here’s the skinny:

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the president. A state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators. Pennsylvania has 20, and pundits are claiming that in order to win the election, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has to win this state. 

Each candidate  has his or her own group of electors, who are generally chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how the electors are selected and what their responsibilities are.

Next month, on the first Monday after the second Wednesday, the electors will meet in their respective states, where they cast their votes for president and vice president on separate ballots. A state’s electors’ votes are recorded on a “Certificate of Vote,” which is prepared at the meeting by the electors. They are sent to the Congress and the National Archives as part of the official records of the presidential election. Each state’s electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January next year following the meeting of the electors.

That’s how it works, and I’m a critic of the proces  precisely because it doesn’t accurately reflect the will of the voters, which a popular vote would. If you were to ask me, I am all for its reform. And while we’re at, wholesale reform of term limits and capping spending limits for campaigns as well.

But no one’s asking me. Go vote.

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