Four words that make your vote count more
April 10, 2022

Midterm. Local. Primary. Downballot.

It's safe to say that about half of Americans feel that the presidential election is important. The proof is in the 150 million votes cast for the 2020 election, the most cast in any election so far. The problem with that is that with 150 million votes (including yours), your vote is now 0.000000667% of the result. Yaaayyy.

With a percentage like that, it's easy to see how voting doesn't seem to matter. It gets worse if you're living in a state with an overwhelming majority of people who are members of the opposing party. Most states are "winner take all" with presidential electoral votes, meaning if you think your candidate is going to get crushed in your state, its easy to think that there's no point to vote in the first place.

But there is a point, and its further down the ballot.

For example, California's next primary election is June 7, 2022. In it, you can choose one from almost 30 gubernatorial candidates, 8 lieutenant governor candidates, in addition to many others like your congressperson, Secretaries of State, Controllers, Treasurers, and Attorneys General.

You may not think of this now, but these are all important positions. On top of that, your vote counts more in these elections than they do the ones in November.

Let's look at my current representative, Jay Obernolte. Obernolte won his seat for the House of Representatives by 34,311 votes. There was a total of 283,000 votes cast. A 12 point difference is in no way a close call, but having your vote count against 283,000 others is different than counting it against 150 million. 35 thousand Democrats could have swung the election to his opponent, Chris Bubser.

Not only that, but Obernolte was voted in on an election year. In 2018 (the previous midterm), there were only 170,000 votes cast altogether for California's 8th district. And that's not all! Before Obernolte was able to be on the main election ballot, he had to place in the top two in his primary election (this is how California does it, your state may differ). In the primary he was the vote leader with a little over a third of the vote. The difference here is the total number of votes: only 140,000 people cast their vote in this district for their Congressperson. If 11,000 Republicans switched their vote from Obernolte to Tim Donnelly (the 3rd place candidate), Obernolte wouldn't have made it to November's ballot.

Voting in local elections makes your voice heard.
Voting in downballot elections makes your voice heard.
Voting in primary elections makes your voice heard.
Voting in midterm elections makes your voice heard.

Check your state. When are their primaries? What races are on the ballot? Who is on the ballot? What district am I in (it may have changed with the census)? Who is the best fit for the job? Are they sufficiently obnoxious on my favorite social media platform?

"Hey," you may say, "that sounds like a lot of work."

Sure, but that's the point. If you want your vote to count, you're going to have to put in some effort. In the smaller elections, you have a greater chance of tipping the scales to your side.

You can do it.


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