|SD lacking clout in presidential campaign|
|Wednesday, 03 October 2012 16:33|
Hundreds wait outside a polling place in Cleveland, Ohio as early voting opened Tuesday in that swing state. It's a stark contrast to the 174 who showed up at the Pennington County Courthouse for the first day of early voting in South Dakota nearly two weeks ago.
Ranked as the 46th least populous state South Dakota doesn't hold much clout when it comes to the national stage. Dreyer says, "It's just not a swing state. It's forecasted already that South Dakota's going to vote for Romney, I think a 99 percent chance that South Dakota will vote for Romney, which is about right if you pay attention to state and local politics. That sounds about right."
Historically a red state, with only three electoral votes, South Dakota has become almost immune to the onslaught of political ads and campaign stops, leaving voters on their own in some regards. Dreyer says, "I think some people do feel they're alienated from the national dialogue because of the lack of ads; other people are really happy they don't have political ads."
Dreyer says the importance of a state can often be gauged by the number of campaign ads. The president is elected not by popular votes, but by the Electoral College. With 538 electoral votes up for grabs, only three come from South Dakota, that's not even 1% of the Electoral College. Dreyer says, "Cutting out the Electoral College, a lot of people want to do that, I think it's a great idea in a number of ways. Would it change South Dakota's role? Unfortunately, probably not, the population out here just isn't enough to influence the vote."
Which leads to one basic question: Does my vote matter? Dreyer says, "Unfortunately, not as much as we'd like to think. The Electoral College, South Dakota's low number of electoral votes, kind of combine to make our individual vote in South Dakota not the most valuable thing. It's just not as valuable as we think it is, unfortunately."
We're not alone in that aspect, Alaska, Delaware, Vermont, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming also only receive three electoral votes. And although this doesn't take away from the importance of voting, it does show our voice may not be heard as much when compared to some other Americans in larger states.