There is no reason why you shouldn’t vote-swap

By and

The mission of reads in part as follows: “Defeat George Bush. Support the critical voice of third parties. Build a progressive majority.”

This is VotePair.Org, a Web site allowing you to swap your vote for John Kerry with a voter in another state. The idea behind vote swapping is extremely important because of the way in which we elect the president.

The president is not elected directly. Instead, the Electoral College is used.

Therefore, as was the case in 2000, the candidate with the most nationwide votes does not necessarily win the election with state-by-state electoral votes.

This makes things difficult for many third- party candidates who never have a large enough base within a specific state to actually get electoral votes.

This leads to the idea of vote- swapping.

It is no secret that a number of states are solidly Republican or Democrat.

In Utah, as an example, it is certain George Bush will win the majority and get all of the state’s electoral votes.

And so Utah is termed a “secure state.”

Pennsylvania and several other states are “swing states,” meaning the winner of the election in that state could be either president Bush or Senator Kerry.

Every vote actually has the possibility of influencing the election.

Entering the fold are third-party candidates Ralph Nader, David Cobb and Michael Badnarik. Realistically speaking, a third- party candidate will not win this year’s election, or even win a majority vote in any state. Many voters in swing states realize this.

The rationale in choosing a third- party candidate, for many voters, is to simply make a stand against the Electoral College.

And these third-party voters are willing to vote for Kerry if you are willing to vote for their third-party candidate.

Vote swapping has come under much scrutiny since it was recently featured in the media.

Letters to the editor in The Chronicle even contest the validity of vote swapping. One such letter from an admitted Democrat said, “My fear is that Republicans in swing states would pretend to agree to vote for Kerry in order to secure a stronger Bush victory.”

Although this is certainly a possibility, the vote swapping process does attempt to address this issue. Once you are paired with a voter in another state, you are encouraged to get to know each other before your vote is cast.

If there is any question in your mind, you can call the whole thing off. It is absolutely impossible for a Republican to affect the outcome of this process.

The focus of the system is on swing and secure states. Those Republicans in swing states attempting to outsmart you would simply be stupid. They will already be voting Republican in their state, and having changed your vote, it is very unlikely you will affect the outcome of the vote in your state.

The key is that your vote in your state does not affect the outcome of the election, because you are in a secure state. There is simply no danger in being conned out of your vote.

The legality of vote swapping does concern some individuals. Many have compared it to selling your vote. But the system is on such a small scale, compared to the national number of votes, that there is very little chance of any legal action.

It would be political suicide for the Republican Party to come back, after the election, to a swing state. Filing lawsuits against individual voters in an attempt to reverse the outcome of the election would not work, either.

VotePair.Org may not influence the outcome of the election, but it’s certainly something worth considering if you are a Kerry supporter in Utah.

Instead of your vote being one made in vain, you can actually make it count.

There is absolutely no reason not to pair your vote with someone in another state.

As for me, I’ll be writing in David Cobb while my swapping friend in Pennsylvania punches the hole for Kerry.

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