Voter Information

Electoral College vs. Popular vote

I have recently had inquiries about why we have the electoral college to elect a president instead of popular vote as we do for all other offices.  First, I think the Electoral College protects the value of our vote.  Second, I note that all other offices are elected at the state level or county/local level.  The electoral college process recognizes the sovereignty of each state.  Representative Jack Balcom has studied this at length and with his permission, his response, which makes sense to me, is shown below.

Dear  [constituent]
Thank you for bringing up an exciting subject which I consider myself an expert on. While pursuing my first master’s degree at USC, I did a deep dive study on this subject and I will touch on a few reasons why electing our President by a “national popular vote” would be a terrible idea, unfair to my Merrimack constituents and, ironically, unfair to the American voter. Let me touch briefly on my findings without including the 120 plus pages of research.

There is no equality in your vote here in NH to that in CA. Each State has its own election laws. CA is a very liberal State and (going to USC I was able to see first-hand) is not very aggressive in keeping non-citizens from commonly voting successfully in their elections. That means that your precious vote is degraded by an illegal vote in CA and yet its value is equal. By partitioning voter fraud and mis-voting to the State level (through the electoral college), the damage to our election process is minimized. Let me be quite frank … the popular vote you see on TV election news contains thousands and thousands of illegal votes but NH works hard to preserve the sanctity of your vote. CA voting is unmanageable and easily manipulated, especially in urban areas.
If there is a close vote and a recount is necessary, it is hard enough to do this within one State rather than a “nation-wide” recount. During that recount, can you imagine how easy it would be to dump thousands of new ballots within a City like Chicago ? This process would be a complete nightmare and tear the Country apart and even initiate national outrage and its possible manifestations (e.g. rebellions). The recount problems in Florida’s 2000 vote should be ample argument on this count. 
Weather or regional impacts. If a giant blizzard kept the voters of Alaska or Idaho from getting to the polls, everyone in that State is affected equally and doesn’t impact the election. Do we compare those single votes to those of places where there are no barriers to voting? Obviously this would be blatantly unfair to those embattled citizens. 

I have touched on a few of the major reasons electing a President by popular vote would be inherently unfair. All democracies outside of the US elect by regional/legislative areas for the reasons above. UK, France, etc and etc. chose their leader through Parliament. Choosing a leader is much further away from the individual voter in most other countries over 300 Million.

Our Constitution has allowed the freedom of States to bind the results of a State electors to the results of the popular votewithin the State. Ours is a unique system and it works to ensure a manageable and peaceful selection process to choose a leader who represents the Country. 

I hope this has illuminated why our unique institution, the Electoral College, has endured and evolved for over 240 years to ensure a peaceful transition of power backed by the popular vote within the individual States. One interesting proposal is: there has been serious consideration that in very large populous States like California and Texas, electors should be split into smaller units (Southern California, Northern California).

Sincerely,

Jack Balcom 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  GENERAL ELECTION This election includes PRESIDENT, US Senator, Congressman, NH Governor, State Senator and Representatives  In Merrimack, voting will be at the three locations noted above, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.  There will be plenty of signs to direct you.   You can REGISTER TO VOTE at the Town Clerk’s Office and learn about same day registration and absentee voting there, too.  More detail is also available from the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

Merrimack has eight (8) representatives in the legislature, all elected at large.  There are no wards or precincts.  You can vote for any number up to eight and can write in names if you choose, but you cannot exceed eight votes.

Party Affiliation in primary election

If you’re a registered member of a political party (Republican or Democrat) you must take that party’s ballot in the primary election.  If you are an independent (“Undeclared”) you may take either ballot and you will then automatically become a member of that party.  You can become “undeclared” again, after voting, by filling out a special form at a table near the ballot boxes.

Click Application for Absentee Ballot for a sample application. You can send this to the Town Clerk, or take it to the Town Clerk’s office and a ballot will be mailed or given to you.

Call the Merrimack Town Clerk if you need additional information, (603) 424-3651.