The presidential candidates made several stops from Iowa to Ohio to fight for those last votes that could sway the election in their favor.

A national average of polls has Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at a statistical tie among likely voters. Yet our winner-take-all system does not distribute Electoral College delegates proportionally among candidates. If you think back to the 2000 election, George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore by about 500,000 votes. However, in Florida — where there was a recount of popular votes — Bush beat Gore by about 500 votes, thus winning the state and the election .

Imagine the outcry that would come about this year if a candidate loses the popular vote but wins the Electoral College. With changed voting procedures in Virginia and Ohio, tight races in many battleground states and a harsh political climate, there would be outcries for a change in our electoral system and political disenchantment from the side that loses this election.

With the qualities of a perfect political storm in place, we may have to wait to find out who won the election. Consider a state like Ohio, where almost 1.5 million registered voters received an absentee ballot. So far, less than half of absentee voters have submitted their ballots, and many of these voters have decided to cast their vote in-state. A new Ohio law prohibits counting those votes until 10 days after the election, so we can expect delays for official vote counts
With that said, we know the possibility of a repeat of the 2000 election becomes more realistic when Obama releases a campaign ad titled “537.” He argues that the 537 votes that decided the 2000 election changed the course of American history. Moreover, those 537 votes represent what we could have had under Gore, but instead got from Bush.

Even so, as we prepare to cast our votes — many of us for the first time in our lives — we are merely making a statement, as if either Obama or Romney will legitimately put the country back on its proper course.

As far as stereotypes go, those who vote for Obama are intellectually stimulated college students who love Starbucks and want world peace. And on the other side, we have those aspiring to be Wall Street tycoons who care more about tax policy than social policy and will give their vote to Romney. Thus, we are buying into an electoral system that is nothing more than a farce. This kabuki theatre that has transformed our politics into a business that insulates the American people from legitimate policy solutions. This election is just a mere reiteration of that.

At this point, it seems like the only way to determine the outcome of an election this close is by the flip of a coin. Until then, we must rely on a winner-take-all system that is more conducive to producing stale policies and promoting policy gridlock than creating substantive solutions to our most pressing problems. The next president, whomever that may be, must promote reforms to our system to regain the respect of the electorate.

Daniel Pierro is a sophomore in the College.

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