A Nation Engaged: N.H. Asks, How Much Does My Vote Count?
We ask a question NPR member stations around the country are exploring this week as part of the series, A Nation Engaged: Does My Vote Matter? We get a Granite State perspective, including on our First in the Nation status and a recent proposal to possibly pair our primary with Massachusetts. We'll also look at presidential politics in the wake of the Orlando shootings and a visit to New Hampshire by Republican Donald Trump.
This program was hosted by Dean Spiliotes, Civic Scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University.
- Joseph Bafumi, associate professor of government at Dartmouth College.
- Chris Galdieri, assistant professor of politics at St. Anselm College, specializing in presidential politics.
- Steve Koczela, president of the MassInc Polling Group. He writes for NHPR about polling, voter demographics, and other topics related to NH's presidential primary.
- Overview piece for NPR's A Nation Engaged series - Amid Long Voting Lines And Claims Of A 'Rigged System,' Does My Vote Matter?: "All this controversy has left many voters uneasy, and raised questions about how confident Americans are that their votes count, and will be counted accurately in November."
COMMENTS FROM LISTENERS:
An email from Ron questioning the importance of the individual voter:
My individual vote doesn’t matter unless the election is decided by a single vote. Unless this is the case, the outcome of the election was not affected by my voting. If my vote doesn’t affect the outcome, why should I vote?
Peg from Concord on why she's disappointed in the Democratic Party:
This year, I felt my vote did not count. The old establishment DNC decided which candidates they would anoint, the super delegates stood with their choices, and the votes of the people didn’t change anything. Unfortunately, their choices for candidates don’t match the wishes of the people here in NH. I’m in my 70’s and will now leave the democratic party and remain an independent.
Chris from Nashua on why he thinks open primaries don't work:
What we saw this year was a lot of people who were not Republican or were leaning that way and had never registered pile into the Republican primary…so I never understood why we actually allow open primaries, because to me that’s like allowing the general public to nominate who your priest, your rabbi, even when they’re not members of the congregation.
Karen from Lebanon on why people should let go of the “one vote won’t make a difference” mentality:
In the Upper Valley we are very Democratic these days and so I know it can be really tempting for people to think that their vote doesn’t count… I always remind people that ...when you look at it from the congressional district, for example, we need a strong turnout in the Democratic area to cancel out Republican strongholds in other parts of the district. … And that’s one way I like to encourage people that even though they may feel like … their Democratic candidate at the top of their ticket might be safe in their particular area, that their vote matters a lot because it cancels out a vote potentially somewhere else.
Mark, in an email, on the legitimacy of the primary process:
Since the nominating process has left us with a choice between a reality TV celebrity and a candidate who is the spouse of a former president and may be indicted, isn't the nominating system seriously broken?