Thanks to sources like CNN we all know that Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, received almost 64.3 million popular votes (and counting) and 349 electoral votes (and counting).  And we know that he defeated John McCain, the Republican candidate, who received “only” 56.7 million popular votes (and counting) and 153 electoral votes (and counting).  As a result of these statistics, McCain delivered a concession speech on Tuesday night and Obama’s prefix is now “President-elect.”

If you check out the CNN site, though, you will notice that Obama received 53% of the vote, and that McCain received 46% of the vote.  This adds up to only 99% of the popular vote.  So what happened to the other 1% of the tabulated vote?  Fortunately, CNN also provides the full results of the Presidential election (well, “full” considering three states have not yet announced their vote tallies.  Here is the top tier of the results:



It now becomes obvious that, besides Obama and McCain, other candidates received votes.  Most notable is 3rd place candidate Ralph Nader, who received over 660,000 votes!  For the record, this would make the fictional Nader Nation the 48th most populous state, between Alaska (population: 683,000) and North Dakota (population: 639,000).

After Nader, though, the obscurity level increases.  I find it amazing that someone like Moore receives 6,547 votes from across the country.  Chances are that Moore was on the ballot of one or several states.  If not, that means 6,547 people wrote Moore in — and I’m assuming that nobody has that many friends or family members willing to write their name on a presidential ballot!  On the bright side, Moore did finish with 296 more votes than “None of these candidates,” the last of the candidates to beat the candidate with such a cumbersome last name =)

Even more impressive is the entity that received 509 votes:



It would be great if “Phillies” was the result of write-in votes from 509 citizens of Philadelphia, where we are still in a daze from last week’s World Series victory, which ended a 25-year championship drought (perhaps you heard something about this?).  But, alas, there is actually a candidate named George Phillies, who was running in New Hampshire on the Libertarian ticket.

Perhaps Mr. Phillies would have had more luck if he had registered for the Pennsylvania ballot; no doubt more than a few Philadelphians would have been so excited that they would have voted for Phillies out of sheer passion!  I think I have my running mate for my campaign in 2020; hopefully the Phillies’ dynasty is fresh off of winning its 13th straight World Series!

In other news, I am still waiting to see CNN’s coverage of the concession speech by Bradford Lyttle of the United States Pacifist Party, the 25th highest vote getter (103 votes).

I just left the poll, having cast my votes for the various officials hoping to be elected today.  I feel that I was well-informed regarding the different candidates for whom I could vote: President, state treasurer, attorney general, representative, etc.

I am quite bothered, however, by the referendums/items that appear on the ballot.  There were four in my district — one about the commonwealth borrowing $400 million for utilities, one about combining the Fairmount Park Commission and Department of Recreation, one about the city incurring a debt of $53 million for capital improvements, and one about giving preferential treatment for civil service jobs to people who have lived in Philly for at least one year prior to their civil service examination.

What bothers me is that the only item I had even heard of prior to just now is the item proposing the formation of a new Department of Parks and Recreation.  I am a pretty plugged in person who reads the newspaper every day and otherwise is able to get information promptly and accurately.  If I know nothing about these items, then I am going to assume that neither do the majority of voters in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania — and I’m sure there are similar items on the ballot today in cities and states throughout the US.

My decisions and vote about each item were based on reading the difficult language on the ballot and trying to figure out the Pros and Cons of each, doing so uninformed and while under pressure to expedite my turn in the voting booth.  Since I assume most of Philly and Pennsylvania is in a similar situation in terms of familiarity with these items, this means that $453 million dollars, employment decisions, and management of the largest park system in the world (as well as recreation sites) are being decided based on…nothing!

Individual candidates spend a lot of money on advertisements to make sure their messages are heard and their faces are seen.  It is understandable that a ballot item cannot raise money, but there has to be some other way to make sure voters are aware of the items and their issues.  I saw only the aforementioned Parks and Recreation item even mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, but no information about other than “Mayor Nutter says we should vote ‘yes’ on this question.”

Does this bother anyone else?

I finally found a resource with more information for those in Philly.  The Committee of Seventy, which describes itself as “Political watchdog group and nonpartisan research and election information source for the Philadelphia metropolitan area,” offers a resource on the different Philadelphia ballot questions.