Wednesday, May 27, 2015

U.S. Elections May be in Violation of the 14th Amendment

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The ideal of one man, one vote has NEVER been achieved. If your VOTE does not carry the same weight as does the vote of someone else, then your rights under the 14th Amendment have been violated! For example, it is possible that a Presidential candidate could get a greater number of popular votes but, by losing a few large states, gets fewer electoral college votes and, thus, lose the White House.

On any given election, votes are not equal. Someone else's vote may be worth more than yours or your vote may be worth more than the vote cast by another person. Votes are not equal; elections may not be fair. In some cases, fairness is ignored. In others, it is controversial. In yet other cases, your vote may not even count.

In a democratic election between two candidates, the winner is the person with the majority of the votes. But when three or more candidates run, things are seldom so simple. The winner often amasses only a plurality of the votes. (Bill Clinton, for example, won the presidency with 43 percent of the vote; Jesse Ventura won the Minnesota governorship with 37 percent.) The plurality winner could be everyone's least favorite candidate and still lose in a head-to-head battle. As Saari puts it:
"The plurality vote is the only procedure that will elect someone who's despised by almost two thirds of the voters." --Discover Magazine, May the Best Man Lose, November 1, 2000
The 14th says that ...
"no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
--U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment The Equal Protection Clause may be seen as an attempt to secure the promise that "all men are created equal".
Not only minorities but every person has a stake in his/her vote being counted; but --even more importantly --counting for as much as every other vote cast by every other person in the nation. The most promising proposals include the 1) System of Single Transferable Vote (STV) proposed by Thomas Hare in England and Carl George Andrae in Denmark in the 1850s. Adopted throughout the world, STV has been adopted throughout the world to elect public officials, prominently in Australia, Malta, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland as well as in local school board elections in New York City.
Other systems have their own advocates as well. They include preference voting, the Borda Count, range voting et al. All have in common that they are far superior to any method now in use in the United States in terms of how accurately any given election reflects the will of the people. My own "preference", however, is the Borda count in which... ...each voter ranks all of the candidates from top to bottom. If there are, say, five candidates, then a voter's top-ranked candidate gets 5 points, his second-ranked candidate gets 4, and so on. Finally, the points from all the voters are added up to determine the winner.  
--Discover Magazine, May the Best Man Lose, November 1, 2000
It is hard to see how anything could be simpler and just as hard to see how a nation which tolerates the unequal nature of elections can make a straight-faced claim to being democratic or fair. It is hard to see how any government formed as a result of unfair or inaccurate voting systems can claim to be legitimate.
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