Powerball and Democracy
I've often heard it said that lotteries are a tax on the math-challenged.
The odds of winning Powerball's grand prize are one in 120.5M. There were 122.2M votes cast in the presidential election. So it's actually more likely that I will win Powerball than that my vote would be the deciding one in a presidential election.
Of course, that's too simplistic by half. In about 35 states, a citizen's vote had no chance at all of influencing the presidential election. Assuming that the electoral college came down to a single state where the candidate's popular vote totals were separated by only one vote, mandatory recounts and administrative/judicial intervention would essentially take the decision out of the hands of the voters, since we know that a vote result that close is essentially a tie anyway. So even in swing states, it seems that any one vote is meaningless; they only have value en masse.
What's the point of all this, you ask? Like Seinfeld, but less funny, I have no point. I am still reading admin law, and I ran across this, which strikes me as harsh and possibly true:
Any citizen who calculated the likelihood that his or her vote would be determinative in the election of a legislative representative, discounted by the probability that the representative would in fact correctly express the citizen's preferences with respect to legislation that came before the assembly, would conclude that voting is useless.