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deMOCKcracy Look Forward to 2004

In the United States, there are over 200 million people of voting age, 150 million of those are registered voters. In the year 2000, the number of registered voters who participated in the vote for President was approximately 100 million. Half of the people who should vote, and two thirds of the people who could.

If America chose it's President based on overall votes, Al Gore would have won 50.16 million to George W. Bushs' 49.82 million.

However, we choose our President by an antiquated system called the electoral college. How the electoral college works is simple, the winner of the popular vote in each state is awarded that states electoral votes, which is equal to the number of members of Congress that state has, for example, California has 54 electoral votes and Alaska has 3. There are 538 electoral votes in total, and a candidate must win the majority (270) to be declared President.

George W. Bush won the 2000 election via the electoral college (271), attributed to 1703 votes in the state of Florida.

The reason this is important, is because while Gore won the popular vote, and Bush won the electoral vote, a third party candidate may have actually influenced the final result. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received 2.78 million votes in 2000. In the state of Florida, Nader took 93,000 votes, votes that many believe would have gone to Democratic candidate Gore.

With this in mind, and the theory of "divide and conquer" firmly in place, look forward to the presidential elections of 2004.

Republicans know that votes for third party (Green) candidates shear into the numbers of Democrat votes, recently, Republicans have even offered to pay for campaign costs of Green Party candidates in an effort to split the Democratic vote. While Green Party candidates speak out against the G.O.P., the very presence of a Green Party candidate tips the scales in favor of a Republican victory, the beginning of a vicious circle which leaves the Republican Party in command.

In my opinion, "Voting Green", or for any third party in a presidential election, is not a solution or a statement against the current government. It is most likely a wasted vote, and quite possibly a vote for the candidate you oppose. The very idea of a "protest" vote is without merit, no one cares about the candidate who came in 3rd or 4th. In fact, it's quite possible that voting for Nader, the Green Party candidate whose policies were the exact opposite of George W. Bush, was directly responsible for the Republican victory.

Everyone has a right to their opinion, that is what makes this country great. But far too often, uneducated choices are made based on popularity, advertising, even websites such as this! Do yourself a favor and get involved, you don't have to read a manifesto or understand foreign trade, just be willing to spend some time learning about the candidates, about their parties platform and most importantly, what you would want your vote to count for.

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