One of my photos

US Election photo-finish

November 8th, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

I am always amazed by how close American elections are, given the sheer size of the electorate.

The last couple of presidential elections have been close enough to hinge on one or two polling districts out of the whole country to decide the electoral college votes. Even taking the overall totals the two parties are usually within a couple of percentage points of each other.

In these current elections they will end up with a Senate of 50 to 50 or 49 to 51 seats (counting the independents as Democrats) and the House of Representatives with a majority of about 30 out of 435 – or 7%

The senate depends at this moment on Virginia, where the two candidates’ votes are within 8000 of each other out of 2.3 million votes cast.

It remarkable when you consider the huge size of the country and the wildly different natures of the states.

Of course, we are used to close elections here in Crawley with our parliamentary majority of 37 votes and the council decided by drawing of lots in one ward, but that is all from a much smaller number of votes.

Another aspect of the US elections is the number of votes that each voter can cast. Some of them are voting for a Senator, a member of the House of Representatives, a Governor and maybe a referendum or two. The Americans seem to cope with this very well: I have seen how many of our voters get confused when they have two votes in a council election or a European election on the same day as a council election.

Not only that, but some states are returning politicians from one party to congress but electing a governor from a different party at the same time – Arizona for example.

I am quite looking forward to our elections next year – they are going to feel really simple compared to the US mid-terms.

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