Does a single vote matter?

People try to encourage others to vote but does our opinion even matter?

American civilians casting their vote.
Photo Credit-Ethan Miller

For people who are 18 or older, think back to when you were 17 years old. You were young, thinking about colleges to go to, trying to enjoy the twilight of your childhood. Then, you start to hear adults say make sure you vote, or participate in voting, or you can change the future. Every teenager has heard people tell them this, but can our vote really change the future?

Every four years, Americans go to cast their vote for government officials. When it is done, the votes are counted and we get our new president right? Wrong. When the popular votes are counted, the electoral college come together and reach a consensus on who the president should be. In the most recent election, Democrat representative and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote by a close 2.1% over Republican representative Donald Trump. It seemed as if the country leaned towards Hillary Clinton being back in the White House and becoming the first female president, but despite the popular vote, through the allocation of electoral votes, Donald Trump was elected president. Why do people encourage the youth to change the country if our vote seems to be worthless?

Republican Donald Trump delivering a speech after winning the 2016 election.
Photo Credit-Shutterstock

Going back all the way to 1787, the founding fathers held a constitutional convention to decide how the president would be elected. It was a difficult decision as some believed that Congress should decide while the others thought that the people should decide in a democratic approach. The two sides came to a compromise of the electoral college. The idea was made in the frustration and impatience of the founding fathers.

The college consist of electors from each state to represent the number of their congressional representatives. The electors vote for 2 candidates and the person who gets a minimum of 270 out of the 538 electoral votes will become president. This process has been used for years but it takes away from the Democratic aspect of America.

So if the electoral college is the body that settles who becomes president, then what does our vote mean? Nothing. Our vote that many adults told us can help change the country means nothing. The popular vote is really just a facade to make people believe that they have a say in who becomes our next leader, but in reality we don’t get a say.

Currently there are 13 states that are under the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), a compact made that will make sure that the candidate who wins the popular vote wins the election, and 14 other states are considering joining the compact. One state that joined the NPVIC is California. California is a key state in elections due to the popularity and since they joined, it will heavily impact who else joins. The NPVIC will go into effect when there are enough states that make up 270 electoral votes. With all of this coming to light, should we go out and vote for nothing or should we change this aspect of America?

Kyle Alexander is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class and a member of The Quill.