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Clinton Sanders 2842 1865 56 not voting/abstained Trump Cruz 1537 569 1237 to win
Tag Archives: Vote Suppression
Today’s news included an “off-the-record” admission from inside the Trump campaign that they are trying to suppress the vote. This admission is not news for many Democrats. It is an open secret in this country that low turnout usually favors Republicans, while higher turnout tends to favor Democrats. In 2016, voter suppression takes three forms.
First, voter suppression can be built into the election system itself. For example, unlike many democracies, the U.S. holds elections on a weekday (not just the general election, but also, in most states, primaries and municipal and special elections). In most, if not all states, election days are not a holiday. That makes it harder for folks to vote. Additionally, there are hurdles to registering to vote (fewer today than in the past). In particular, most states cut off registration weeks in advance of the election and you have to register every time that you move to a new county.
For several weeks, Donald Trump has been spouting a lot about how, if he loses, it will because the election was “rigged.” As discussed further below, in the sense of fraud and phony votes, it is almost impossible to rig an election. However, as in the Republican primary, to the extent that the election is rigged in the sense of the rules favoring a certain candidate, the rules are almost certainly rigged in favor of Donald Trump.
The first and biggest way that the rules are rigged in favor of Donald Trump is the electoral college. As folks may remember from high school history or government class, a vote for a candidate for president is actually a vote for a slate of electors supporting the candidate. Those electors then vote in December for the candidate on whose slate they ran. A candidate needs to win 270 of the 538 electors to win. Each state has a number of electors equivalent to the state’s representation in Congress — it’s House seats plus its Senate seats. Because every state has two Senate seats, the electoral college is weighted in favor of small states. (If you have two House seats, you have twice as many electoral votes as House seats. If you have fifty House seats, you only have four percent more electoral votes than House seats.) Of the twenty-one smallest states (those with four or fewer House seats), Republicans have won twelve of the twenty-one states in the past four elections. Of the nine states that have gone Democratic in one or more of the last four elections, four are considered swing states.