The person having the greatest Number of [electoral] votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. - US Constitution, Amendment XII, Choosing the President, Vice President (ratified 6/15/1804)
It takes 270 electoral votes to be President of the United States. My trusty calculator and I are having trouble coming up with 270 for Barack Obama.
Different states have different rules for their Electors and how they vote for POTUS, but just going by winner-takes-all on the highest vote-getter in each individual state, Barack Obama has only 229 electoral votes. John McCain has either 97 or 100, depending on how you count, and “No” has 209.
There are approximately 225,000,000 persons of voting age in the United States. 28% voted for Obama, 25% for McCain, 1% for other candidates, and 45% voted “No”.
A November 3 report from the National Association of Secretaries of State listed 184,746,883 registered voters in the US. 63,441,386 of them voted for Obama, 56,071,776 for McCain, and 63,709,816 for “No”. North Dakota does not register voters; Obama and McCain garnered 141,113 votes and 168,523 votes in that state respectively. States which allow late or same-day registrations benefit Obama and McCain in my calculations. For example, Wyoming counted 13,188 more votes than registered voters as of Oct 1, 2008.
Counting only votes from registered voters, Obama will receive Electoral College votes from CO, CT, DE, DofC, FL, HI, IL, IA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, NV, NJ, NM, NC, PA, RI, VT, VA, and WI. McCain will receive Electoral votes from AL, GA, ID, KS, MS, MO, MT, NE, OK, SC, SD, TN, and WY (using votes cast, McCain would also receive 3 votes from ND). “No” should receive Electoral votes from AK, AZ, CA, IN, KY, LA, NY, OH, OR, TX, UT, WA, and WV.
Should 45% of Americans be disenfranchised?
The US government disenfranchised 99% of Iraqis who voted for Saddam Hussein. 45% is nothing. Still, it does seem odd to disregard one election because it's not free, and then disregard another because it's free.
45% or 34%?
45%. Three states illustrate this dramatically:
North Dakota does not require voter registration. “No” votes are not counted in North Dakota, unless the entire voting age population is considered.
As noted above, Wyoming counted 13,188 more votes than they had registrations (what a massive “get out the vote” campaign they must have had). In our calculations, we treated that as a -13,188 votes for “No”.
Oklahomans had a very simple choice: Barack Obama or John McCain. No other votes were counted. Why should a “No” voter register?
Are non-voters necessarily “No” voters?
Absolutely! As Lysander Spooner brilliantly noted, it is the nature of a secret ballot that no vote can ever be verifiably counted “for” a candidate, but must necessarily be against all other candidates. In other words, while one could not verify that someone voted “for” non-voting, their vote must be counted as against all other candidates, or “No.”
Does counting “No” votes change the election?
Using only registered voters, a quorum of 2/3 of the House of Representatives must now choose the President from among Obama, McCain, and “No” (by a simple majority vote). One can easily imagine amusing scenarios where the House does not obtain a quorum, passes laws based on the 10-day rule for executive veto, etc., but, it is likely that the Democratic majority in the House would elect Barack Obama.
However, for reasons outlined above, counting only registered “No” votes fails to be equal treatment. Although an exhaustive study of all 50 states and District of Columbia rules for eligible voters and Electoral College conduct would have to be undergone, due to the wide margin of victory in the nationwide popular vote it is probable that “No” would have at least 270 Electoral votes, if not carry all 50 states.
If “No” votes are not counted, is any government election legitimate?