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My View: Winner-take-all voting leaves some without a voice, but one simple fix could change all that

Have you ever looked at those red and blue Electoral College results maps that are displayed after a presidential election? Have you really looked at them?

They cover up a lot, and it’s easy to miss the fact that many voters are not represented in those Electoral College results. Many voters simply did not matter, did not contribute to the process! No business would long succeed if it relied on data results that reflected reality so poorly.

For example, more than 40 percent of our nation’s registered voters did not vote in the 2012 presidential election. Further, 43.7 percent of those who voted were not part of the Electoral College results.

In other words, 144.7 million (66.6 percent) U.S. registered voters were not part of the Electoral College results. They don’t show up on those red and blue maps. The truth is that our current president was elected by only one-third of our nation’s voters.

Obama won the state of Oregon with 970,488 votes, which were fewer than the 1,040,178 registered Oregon voters who did not vote. Again, add those who did not vote with those voters who voted for Romney (he did not win the popular state vote) and we find that 1,794,253 Oregon registered voters did not matter. The Electoral College results hide this reality behind a red and blue map, which renders a false impression.

I’ve created a solution called Equal Voice Voting to fix the Electoral College. It removes the winner-take-all obstacle. A state’s popular votes are translated into electoral votes and awarded to all viable candidates on a proportional basis. In Oregon, Obama would have won four electoral votes and Romney three in 2012, rather than Obama collecting all seven.

Obama won the popular vote of the nation by a mere 3.85 percent yet he had a 126-electoral vote margin (23.4 percent) over Romney. If the 2012 presidential election had used Equal Voice Voting in every state, Obama would have won by 10 electoral votes. This result would closely reflect the popular vote. Everyone’s vote would matter.

The problem stems from how we

derive the Electoral College results. Each state uses a winner-take-all approach. The candidate who wins the most popular votes of the state gets all of the state’s electoral votes (Maine and Nebraska use congressional district voting). If you vote for the losing candidate, your voice (your vote) is never heard (represented) in the Electoral College results.

Instead of a red and blue map showing the Electoral College results, it should be purple. For example, if Equal Voice Voting had been used in 2012, eight states (Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin) would have split their electoral votes.

Equal Voice Voting is a non-partisan solution to the problem, even providing third party candidates the opportunity to win electoral votes. It does not require a Constitutional amendment yet corrects Electoral College inequities.

I urge you to contact your legislators to let them know you want Equal Voice Voting in your state. Talk to each other about this concern.

Voters need to become aware of the issue and how Equal Voice Voting can be used to give greater representation for everyone. All voters should matter.

Jerry Spriggs of West Linn is the author of “Equal Voice Voting: Making Our Votes Count in the Electoral College.” See www.equalvoicevoting.com for more info.