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Often criticized as an outdated, antiquated remnant of 18th century politics, the Electoral College is viewed by many as potentially thwarting the will of the American people. But before amending the Constitution to provide for a popular vote system, it would be wise to consider what might result.
Over the past three decades, the percentage of British Columbians who actually vote has steadily fallen, from more than 70 per cent to a little over half last time out, when nearly one out of every two voters seemingly slept the day away and never bothered to cast a ballot. In fact, B.C. has the dubious distinction of having some of the lowest voter turnouts in the country, which says a lot when you consider that some of those other provinces don't have much to boast about either.
Is the U.S. election really a neck-and-neck race, like the pollsters in the mainstream media keep reporting? Not really. It would be close, if the popular vote indeed decided the Presidency, but it's the Electoral College that determines who wins. That's why Obama and Romney don't bother to campaign in California, New York, or Texas; the outcomes there are "givens." The swing-states are where the action is -- and this time around, Ohio is the "swingyest" of them all.
Proportional representation's advocates invented the concept of the wasted vote, claiming that votes for losing candidates are wasted, and that under PR "every vote counts." But ultimately there is no decision. And that surely is a waste of voting.