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Our Rights as Voters
One critical principle involved in voting is our right to have our votes count. It makes no difference in which type of election we vote, all our votes need to be reflected in the results being broadcast. This principle seems to have gotten lost in our present political environment not only from the media coverage but how votes are counted in reference to the results. This principle or the lack of it is being displayed this election year through primaries and caucuses both completed and scheduled.
Caucuses are different than primaries as the individuals involved are representatives of others who may feel the same about specific candidates. Discussions are held and votes then tallied to project a winner for each caucus held. The combined caucuses within the state are then calculated to determine what delegates each candidate will or may receive. Dependent upon the laws in each state delegates are awarded entirely to one candidate who gets the most votes or proportionately based on their percentage. Awarding delegates in proportion to the percentage of votes received allows each vote to be more accurately reflected in the distribution. Granted there may be some justification but the point needs to be emphasized in any election that every vote counts and should be reflected in the results for each state.
Statements made by several political candidates and even some elected officials emphasize the principle that every vote counts. While this is an admirable principle what occurs today in many of the elections held do not always reflect this principle in the way votes are counted and delegates distributed. As a result of bad publicity in Maine decisions were changed to count the votes from all caucuses. This decision was the right one but there was no reference as to how inaccuracies in the vote counts would be resolved. This not only can have an impact on the nomination it could impact the general election. Every citizen who takes the time to vote wants to know there votes were accurately counted in the results. Totals in some areas reported in the news came up 0 even though votes were taken and in another instance the votes tallied and counted were different than what was added to the totals. Whether these issues were resolved were never really reported and causes the results to be questioned. It is true some issues were involved and in some cases unique circumstances but these should never suppress or ignore votes cast in any election without proper justification.
Voting is a privilege we have in this country and the accurate count of the votes cast are the responsibility of the government entity or organization which certifies election results. In this process it is important to ensure that all votes are counted before an election is certified. Recent events in Maine signaled a problem with the caucus results being reported. Information reported that Romney won the caucus while the accuracy of this information has come into question.
Another aspect which impacts caucus votes and in some cases primary votes is the method established to awarding delegates. Some caucus states allow those who will represent the delegates at the national convention allow the delegates to vote for any candidate not necessarily the individual who won their individual state. This in my mind is contrary to the principle of every vote counting and being counted accurately. The same situation exists in some states where delegates from primaries are not bound by the vote of the people. This also is wrong.
I do not disagree with the caucus or primary processes established only the manner in which the delegates are awarded. Some states have also established the principle of winner take all rather than awarding delegates based on the percentage a candidate receives during the election process. This also is wrong.
The details of the Maine caucus results and the changing results in Iowa raise many questions as to the accuracy of the process in collecting and totaling the votes. The fact that the results as originally reported in Iowa declaring that Mitt Romney won was reversed and identified the winner to be Rick Santorum. Trying to counteract the impact of the situation the final count and determination of the winner in Maine will not be publicized until after Super Tuesday as if to imply it might change based on the results of Super Tuesday elections. Whether this is an accurate statement cannot be determined only time will tell. Other states are also not finalizing their distribution of delegates until after Super Tuesday which in some cases involves their individual process to reach a final total. This also may not necessarily reflect the votes of the people as reported in the media.
Our election process whatever form it may take in the race for the nomination of either political party needs to instill some common sense and ensure every vote counts and reflected in the process to award delegates. This applies for caucuses as well as primaries.
The process of voting involves certain rights that we all deserve to have take place. The primary focus and principle is that we want all our votes to count regardless of the outcome of an election. As voters when we decide to exercise this right in any election we expect our vote to be counted along with others and counted accurately. Results of elections can be impacted with the integrity of how and when votes are counted. Currently the media within its prerogative projects winners in an election whether it is for an office or an issue on the ballot. I have no problem with the media broadcasting results as they are being counted but when the results are in question for whatever reason projecting a winner is not appropriate.