Adam Ruins Voting
Adam Ruins Voting

In this episode, Adam explored the twisted history of the Electoral College, explained why the Founding Fathers didn't want most Americans to vote, revealed the undemocratic nature of felony disenfranchisement and gerrymandering and suggested how to fix a political system that seems rigged against true democracy. If you elect to know more, here are his sources.

Sources 

"A voter in Wyoming has over three times as much power in the Electoral College as a voter in California."

Cowan, Sarah K., Stephen Doyle, and Drew Heffron. "Op-Chart: How Much Is Your Vote Worth?" The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 02 Nov. 2008. Web.


"And swing states have so much power, in recent elections up to 80% of the votes cast in America had no impact on the outcome. That includes your vote here in California."

"Problems with the Electoral College." FairVote. FairVote, 2014. Web.


DONNA: "Well some states are red states and some states are blue states. Sorry bucko, that's just the way America is."

ADAM: "Actually, most states are purple."

Sides, John. "Most Americans Live in Purple America, Not Red or Blue America." The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2013. Web.

Howard, Chris. What America Looks Like. 2012. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


"In 2012, over 3 million Texans voted Democratic. And almost 5 million Californians voted Republican."

United States. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Office of the Federal Register. 2012 Presidential Election Popular Vote Totals. College Park, 2012. Web.


"Actually, in 24 states they [the members of the Electoral College] can vote for whoever they want."

United States. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Office of the Federal Register. What Is the Electoral College? State Laws and Requirements. Washington D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 2000. Web.


"And that's happened over eighty times. In 2004, a Minnesota elector voted for "John Ewards", which was almost the name of John Kerry's running mate."

Brodarick, Taylor. "It's Time To Abolish The Electoral College." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 4 Nov. 2012. Web.


"Oh, no. The founders didn't want you to vote at all… because you didn't own land. Also because you're a woman."

United States. National Archives. The Charters of Freedom. Washington D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 2015. Web.


"When the Founding Fathers created our democracy, they gave the vote to just 6% of the population at the time. And it took a long time to change that."

United States. National Archives. The Charters of Freedom. Washington D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 2015. Web.


"It took almost 70 years before the right to vote was even extended to all white men."

"U.S. Voting Rights Timeline." Northern California Citizenship Project. KQED, San Francisco, California, 2004. Web.


"650,000 people live in DC have no representation in Congress, and our tax rate is one of the highest in the nation."

United States. U.S. Census Bureau. District of Columbia QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. N.p., 31 Aug. 2015. Web.


"I hate to tell you this, but a lot of these laws [Jim Crow laws] are still on the books today. They were never repealed, and they're still stopping African-Americans from voting."

Bouie, Jamelle. "The Jim Crow Zombie That Won't Die." The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 11 Feb. 2014. Web.


"The bottom line: Jim Crow laws that are still on the books stop five million Americans from voting every year."

Gonchar, Michael. "Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote After They Have Served Their Time?" The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 18 Feb. 2014. Web.


"In the 19th century, many people would just sell their votes outright, and opportunistic citizens would make bank traveling from state to state being paid to vote."

Onuf, Peter, Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Marc Summers, Alexander Keyssar, and Jamie Raskin. "Pulling the Curtain: Voting in America." Audio blog post. Backstory with the American History Guys. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 2 Nov. 2012. Web.


"Oh no, election fraud was common practice well into the 20th century. LBJ won a Senate election by buying the votes of entire districts. In one case, a corrupt election worker changed a 7 to a 9."

Caro, Robert A. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent. New York: Knopf, 1990. Print.


"Even though the Yellow Party has less voters… if they're allowed to redraw the district lines however they want, they can still win."

Ingraham, Christopher. This is the best explanation of gerrymandering you will ever see. How to steal an election: a visual guide. Washington Post. Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. 1 March, 2015. Web.


"In 2012, Pennsylvania Republicans lost the popular vote, but they still won 72% of the seats in their state, by drawing weird looking districts like this."

Prokop, Andrew. "What is gerrymandering?" Vox. Vox Media, 15 May 2014. Web.


"Actually, the only other country that has a system [of gerrymandering] like this is France."

Prokop, Andrew. "How Do Other Countries Handle Redistricting?" Vox. Vox Media, 15 May 2014. Web.

For More On This Topic

Pulling the Curtain: Voting in America: a podcast episode from the 'American History Guys' at Backstory. It covers our rich history of stolen elections and the Electoral College's implication in systemic racism.

6 questions about Washington, DC, statehood you were too disenfranchised to ask: this explainer from Vox lays out the arguments for and against DC statehood.

The Jim Crow Zombie That Won't Die: from Jamelle Bouie at The Daily Beast, this well reasoned op-ed makes the factual argument for ending felony disenfranchisement laws, a vestige of the Jim Crow Era.

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent: from Robert Caro, Pulitzer Prize winning historian, this is part 2 of a 4-part biography on LBJ. It shines a harsh light on the political rise of one of our most fascinating presidents.

Watch Adam explain why rigging elections is legal and how the Electoral College is ruining democracy.