Shasta County is super-powered on Super Tuesday, By Rocky Slaughter

Redding has always enjoyed being different. Our election results are typically ‘unique’ in comparison to those coming from other parts of the state. Unfortunately, our ‘uniqueness’ is quickly trumped by the voting attitudes of the massive urban south. Lucky for us, a new vehicle in which to diffuse our differing political views has emerged: Super Tuesday.

The vote that is cast in Shasta County Tuesday will be stronger than ever before. 

There are two reasons for Shasta County’s extra power. First, Governor Schwarzenegger led a campaign to ‘frontload’ – or move the state’s primary to the earliest possible date. The governor’s efforts have awarded California unprecedented influential power. In addition, votes cast in primary elections are based on proportional representation of the state’s 53 congressional districts. This comes in great convenience to the north state in comparison to the winner-take-all format that California employs during the general election.

The bottom line? One voter in Shasta County could change more than 3 percent of the entire statewide vote. That one voter could reverse a 47 percent to 50 percent election in favor of his or her candidate.

In this scenario, the voter would have to be a member of the Republican Party, and the race would have to be tied in Shasta County. Since Republicans award delegates on a winner-take-all basis at the congressional district level, one vote extra for any particular candidate will result in Shasta County sending three delegates in that person’s name to the National Convention.

If Shasta’s three delegates decide the difference in a statewide tie, two additional delegates will be awarded for the candidate of Shasta County’s choice. At this point, Shasta’s five delegates would then represent 3 percent of the 179 total delegates.

This is particularly important after the display of votes at an unofficial straw poll I held on Sunday. The event was supposed to highlight the above-mentioned voting power phenomenon and to encourage Shasta County citizens to vote this Tuesday.

Overall, 51 voters cast their ballots for the candidate they hoped would be the next President of the United States. Just as surprising as the Giants beating the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl, Texas Congressman Ron Paul won the Redding straw poll. 

By a lot. 

Democratic candidate Barack Obama came in second, and Hillary Clinton came in third.

If the vote actually reflects the straw poll, Shasta County could have the unique voice of sending three delegates to a candidate that, like Shasta County, is side-stepped by the mainstream political discourse.

The Democrats have a much more complicated breakdown of delegates. I would need a few more articles to explain the intricacies of their system.  In essence, the greater the Democratic turnout, the more delegates (3-6) the congressional district will receive in future elections.

Hopefully this article wasn’t too convoluted. 

They really should call it Super (Complicated) Tuesday.

Happy Voting! 

Rocky Slaughter is a political science student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.  He is currently a law intern at a local firm and is working on launching a business as well as writing a book about presidential debate reform.

His blog is www.rockyslaughter.blogspot.com 

Rocky Slaughter

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