It got me thinking though; even on a good year, I don't have much more of a say. Typically, there's only one or two races of any significance, most which only have two candidates pre-selected for me, and often the races are already a lock before I get a crack at them. Presidential votes are nearly meaningless in PA as the state has gone blue every year since the 1980s. Whether I vote Democratic or Republican, winner will likely be the same. Even for Senate or Governor races, the results are often already clinched weeks in advance. It raises an interesting question...if everything is pre-selected, is there really even an election? Is the election rigged by the media, or the rich, or the parties, or the illuminati? Some would say yes...but I think we need to reconsider how we're actually "voting". I would argue, our actual "vote" occurs long before election day.
While the actual ballots may not make much difference, the American people "vote" in dozens of ways prior to November. Whether it's poll numbers, viewer rating, media clicks, demonstrations, discussions, protests, or even just word of mouth, everyone adds a slight spin on the electoral conversations leading up to Election Night. By demonstrating interest (or lack thereof) in large numbers, voters are able to shape which candidates emerge, or enter the race, or how they structure their campaigns. By engaging in online discussions and participating in media coverage, candidates alter their messages and strategy to attract voters. We don't always get a clear yes/no choice on election day...but the results have already been determined by the collective "us". If we don't like the final "choice" presented to us on election day, it means we already lost the soft-election weeks ago.
So, while Election Day is winding to a close, another campaign begins immediately tomorrow. Who's to say exactly when and where your vote will count...but slowly but surely, it's adding to the final result.