U.S. presidential election results show Canada how First Past the Post betrays voter intent

U.S. presidential election results show Canada how First Past the Post betrays voter intent

Daniel Green

(OTTAWA) – The results of the U.S. Presidential race are a stark warning to Canada of how the First Past the Post voting system can betray voters’ intentions.

 

Hillary Clinton received 61,917,919 votes, or 48.3% of the popular vote on Nov. 8. Donald Trump received 60,913,096 votes. While Ms. Clinton received more than 1 million additional votes than the current President-elect, she nonetheless lost because of the antiquated, winner-take-all Electoral College system.

 

A voting system using proportional representation of Electoral College votes would have led to a Clinton President-elect by a very narrow margin. See below:

 

 

Popular votes

Proportional Electoral votes

 

N

%

N

%

Total votes cast

128,158,090

100%

538

100%

 
 

 

 

 

Votes for Clinton

61,917,919

48.3%

266

49.4%

Votes for Trump

60,913,096

47.5%

264

49.1%

Votes for  Johnson

4,044,879

3.2%

7

1.3%

Votes for Stein

1,282,196

1.0%

1

0.2%

Source: Elections results as of Thursday, November 17 posted on the CNN web site.

 

Voting results in the state of Connecticut are used to show an example of the calculations applied to the 50 states to distribute the Electoral College votes as a proportion of the votes received by each presidential candidate running in the U.S. election.

See state example below:

 

State

Connecticut

 

Total electoral college votes

7

 

Total votes cast

1,623,542

 

 

 

 

Trump votes

668,266

 

Trump %

41.16%

Rounded to

Trump- EV-prop*

2.88  (41.16% of 7)

3

 

 

 

Clinton votes

884,432

 

Clinton %

54.48%

Rounded to

Clinton-EV-prop

3.81 (54.48% of 7)

4

 

 

 

Johnson  votes

48,051

 

Johnson %

2.96%

Rounded to

Johnson-EV-prop

0.21

0

 

 

 

Stein votes

22,793

 

Stein %

1.40%

Rounded to

Stein-EV-prop

0.10

0

 

 

 

*EV- prop : electoral votes distributed proportionally

 

The other notable result of the election is that in states where Donald Trump won, votes for U.S. Green Leader Jill Stein were not significant enough to influence the outcome of any of those state results. In other words, the U.S. Green votes did NOT help Trump win, even under the assumption that every vote for Ms. Stein would have flowed to Ms. Clinton in states where Trump won.

 

Right now in Canada, we have an unprecedented opportunity to replace the perverse results of First Past the Post with a fair, proportional voting system. Let Trump's election be a lesson to anyone who thinks that First Past the Post is the best way to elect governments in a democracy.

 

Daniel Green

Deputy Leader, Green Party of Canada