Eric and I drug Jenna out of bed at 9am on Saturday for early voting.
We decided at the last minute to do it, so she had no warning.
"Why can't I just vote on election day?" she wailed from under her warm covers.
This is the first time she's been eligible to vote and she's been excited at the prospect.
However, Saturday is the only day she has to sleep in and the 45* temperature outdoors made her want to stay in bed all day.
She got out of bed.
Grumpy, but none the worse for wear.
She walked right in to vote---no waiting.
That is precisely the reason we do early voting.
The folks running the election were so excited that she was a first time voter.
Since I wasn't allowed to help her navigate the election booth, an election official did the honors.
I wanted a picture of her voting, but that isn't allowed.
The sticker on her phone is enough.
Once we were back in the car, she asked,
"Why did I even vote? It's not like my vote counts in Texas."
It has been years since political science classes in college for me. I vote because it's the right thing to do. I hadn't thought about the electoral college since 2004 when I pulled over on the side of the road and cried---all my myself, when the John Kerry conceded the election on November 3rd. That election was fraught with controversy, as was the presidential election of 2000, thus the tears and sadness.
The Electoral College seemed broken. I understand, although barely, the reason it exists.
So back to Jenna's question about her vote counting.
Maybe it will make you feel better if you are "blue" and live in a "red" state, or vise versa.
Your vote DOES count. Get out and vote!~
The Electoral College members for each state are voted on by the state's residents on voting day. In some states, the electors' names are printed on the ballots directly under the presidential candidates' names or grouped by party somewhere else on the ballot. In other states, the names of electoral college nominees are not even listed on the ballot.
When you vote for a presidential and vice-presidential candidate on the ballot, you are really voting for the electors of the political party (or unaffiliated candidate) by which they were nominated. Take the North Carolina General Statute § 163-209, for example: "A vote for the candidates for President and Vice-President named on the ballot is a vote for the electors..." [source: North Carolina General Assembly].
This is the case for 48 states. It's known as the winner-take-all system, where all electors go with the candidate who wins the popular vote regardless of how close the vote is. So if the Democratic candidate narrowly wins the popular vote in Texas, for instance, 38 Democratic electors (38 being the total number of electoral votes in the state) will represent Texas as a voting block.