Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting: I Enjoyed the Experience

For those who are voting tomorrow (or, like me, voted already), I hope you enjoy(ed) the experience. The election outcomes will be the same regardless of whether you vote or not.

If you vote, your favorite candidates will have one more vote than they would have had if you had not voted. But your candidate won't need just one more vote, except in the highly unlikely case that your candidate ends up tied or losing by just one vote.

A U.S. Presidential election has never come down to one vote. The Bush-Gore election was pretty close, and some say that Gore really won, but all admit that the Bush and Gore votes in the pivotal state of Florida differed by hundreds. That is, even if you are a Floridian and had voted differently that day, Bush would still be the President.

A U.S. Senate election has never come down to one vote.

A Governor's election has never come down to one vote.

Chip Hunter and I used a computer file with vote tallies from over 70,000 general elections to the U.S. House, state Houses, and state Senates (read more in the June 2003 issue of Public Choice). Most notable are the large number of uncontested elections (that is, elections for which only one candidate is on the ballot). I can guarantee you that an uncontested election will not end up tied!

Are there any readers who voted in the 1910 election in the 36th Congressional district of New York? Those are the only persons having the privilege of voting in a U.S. House election that came down to one vote. 6 state House and 3 state Senate elections came down to one vote; the other 40,000+ did not. One of every 89,000 votes cast in U.S. Congressional elections, and one of 15,000 in state legislator elections, "mattered" in the sense that they were cast for a candidate that tied or won by one vote.


Unknown said...

Prof. Mulligan, I can't resist asking.

Who'd you vote for?

Donald Pretari said...

On the contrary, my vote determines everything. Well, it should. Happy voting! Don the libertarian Democrat