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One thinks of myths as story telling about our past. The Electoral
College myth however is a modern day example of political and media
fabrication. It does not represent the story of freedom and
representative law making — nor the intent of our nation’s founders.

Despite various claims that the Electoral College vote is based on
the popular vote in all 50 states, it is not. Designed by our Founders
to operate in such a fashion, in fact, of the 538 electoral college
votes, only 257 represent votes from states that require their
electorates to vote for the popular winner decided in the state’s
general election. There are actually 281 Electoral College votes that
are not predicated on the popular vote at all. While it is assumed each
party’s delegates do vote for their party’s candidates, they are not
obligated to do so according to the election laws of half of the states
in the union.

These electors have the freedom, based on their state’s perversion of
the process, to vote for whomever they choose. Meaning, the popular
vote can count for nothing at all in more than 50 percent of the
Electoral College votes that will be cast. This means that half of the
people voting in these states who think their vote will determine the
outcome of the presidential race are misinformed.

What is interesting about the Electoral College is that, of the seven
states with more than 20 electoral votes, only California (with its 54
electoral votes) and Ohio (with 21) are compelled by law to vote on the
“winner-takes-all” formula. That’s just 75 votes. The other big states
– Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas — have a total
of 135 electoral votes and none of these states require their delegates
to vote along party line or winner-takes-all. This means that, given
the 270 required electoral votes to win the presidency, even if a
candidate locks up the popular vote, the Electoral College could
conceivably vote the other way.

Historically, delegates were expected to vote based on the popular
vote. And, as for deadlocks, take for instance the remedy in Maryland:
if after electors are still stumped after two additional run-off votes,
delegates are at liberty to vote their own will, regardless of the
majority vote in the state. This is to prevent a deadlock and assure
proper counting. At the federal level, an electoral deadlock is settled
with the House of Representatives electing the president, the Senate
voting for the vice president, both under special voting rules.

What this means for third-party runs for president is that, if you
want your party to win, campaigns should focus a lot of effort on those
states that require their delegates to vote according to the poplar
winner takes all. Only those states that compel electors to vote based
on the popular vote can assure a party’s victory in terms of the
Electoral College vote. They are: Alabama (with nine votes), Alaska
(three), Arkansas (six), California (54), Colorado (eight), Connecticut
(eight), District of Columbia (three), Delaware (three), Hawaii (four),
Maine (four), Maryland (10), Michigan (18), Montana (three), Nevada
(four), New Mexico (five), North Carolina (14), Ohio (21) Oklahoma
(eight), Oregon (seven), South Carolina (eight), Tennessee (11) Utah
(five), Vermont (three), Virginia (13) Washington (11), Wisconsin (11)
and Wyoming (three).

However, if you add them up, that’s only 257 Electoral College votes
that are, by state law, cast according to the popular vote. That leaves
281 votes that can be cast based solely on the desire of the elector as
individuals.

So much for winner-takes-all and lawful representative voting.

As such, it is easy to see the Electoral College as but another part
of the corruption the legislators of the two parties have created to
maintain control. There are many Americans who don’t believe a vote for
Ralph Nader of the Green Party or Harry Browne of the Libertarian party
is a vote for George Bush. Or that a vote for Pat Buchanan of the
Reform Party is a vote for Al Gore. Instead they are simply votes for
other men and women that can assure us that third parties stay on the
ballots in each of the 50 states of the union, where the two-party
monopoly has done its best to obstruct third parties from forming and
having a seat at the table.

That’s why, in fact, a vote for a third party may be the most
important vote to cast of all.

Voting for third party candidates is the only way to assure a third
party’s existence in the next general and state elections in each
state. While the presidential candidates will find winning more than a
Herculean task, regardless of electoral votes, if candidates do not get
5 percent of the popular vote in their state, they do not qualify under
current federal law for matching funds and, in most states, would not
qualify as a viable state party — blocking candidates to run for state
office, the only seat of power where meaningful change can come from
today.

Some of us can think outside the box that the media and political
class tell us is the example of freedom and choice we want to spread
around the world, but the two-party monopolists have created artificial
standards for third-party challengers — requirements that have no
relationship to the rule of law but every sign of being nothing more
than inventions to prevent the citizens from having the choices they
need, a real alternative at the ballot box.

Zoh Hieronimus is host of the

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