Marc Baluda almost always votes Republican. This year, however, he’s casting his ballot for Jill Stein. It’s not that Baluda, who is registered as an Independent, personally supports Stein, the Green Party’s nominee for president.
In fact, the 44-year-old Bay Area attorney is gunning hard for Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, because he thinks Donald Trump “represents a threat to America itself, to democracy, and American values.” But he’s still a staunch fiscal conservative. So why is he casting a vote for the darling of the remotest left wing? When Baluda votes for Stein he’ll actually be voting on behalf of Sophie Warner, a 20-year-old biology student in Ohio. She, in turn, will be pulling the lever for his preferred candidate, Clinton, at her Cleveland Heights poll station. In other words, the two have traded votes.
The two found each other and pledged to vote on each other’s behalf on an online platform called TrumpTraders.org. “We’ll match you to voters in other states to ensure everyone gets a say and Trump doesn’t win,” reads the tagline of the site, which was founded by two former officials from the George W. Bush administration, one of whom is also a former Tesla executive.
TrumpTraders.org facilitates vote trading, citizens swapping votes in order to achieve a shared goal—in this case, keeping Trump out of the White House. The reason this might be necessary is twofold: the US’s electoral college, and its two-party system.
TrumpTraders.org helps citizens swap votes in order to keep Trump out of the White House.
The national popular vote doesn’t decide the election. Instead, 538 electoral votes are divvied up among the states based roughly on their populations. In all but two of the states—Maine and Nebraska—whichever candidate wins a state’s popular vote gets all of its electoral votes. (In the two outliers, the votes are allotted to each congressional district.)
The vast majority of states tend to vote consistently in favor of one of the two main parties. The handful that don’t are the swing states—and the voters who live there wield disproportionate power over America’s fate.
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