Wasted votes

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I was wasted once while voting... sorry, not while voting—vomiting.

People describe votes that didn't help the winner win as "wasted votes." But here's the thing, "wasted votes" aren't real. Well, maybe they're real, but they don't ever exist until the election results are known.

Before and up to the moment you and everyone else is done voting, there are only two options for your vote: either your candidate loses and your vote was "wasted," or your candidate wins and the vote is whatever the opposite of wasted is... recycled? sober? But you don't know until the election is over; when hindsight kicks in like a Russian dancing burglar and lets you know whether your Schrödinger's vote was dead or alive the whole time. Does that qualify as a mixed metaphor? No, it's a metaphor mixed with a simile, y'all!

But this kind of logic (the kind that only works going backward in time (like a DeLorean stuck in reverse)) is still somewhat flawed. If you can have "wasted votes" (votes that didn't help the winner win), you can have null votes: votes that went to the winner, but an equal number of votes went to another candidate, cancelling out the original votes to the winner. The null votes didn't actually help the candidate win either, so they're wasted.

The only votes left that aren't wasted are those that went to the winner (that weren't cancelled out). If at this point there even are any non-wasted votes left, all but one of those votes were superfluous—the winning candidate didn't need all those extra votes to win. So, they too were "wasted" votes.

Hence, in every election, there can only ever be at most one vote that isn't wasted.

I like to think of that as my vote. You should too!

 

P.S. If you are going to throw your vote away this coming election season, why not throw it in the Green bin?