Are Electoral Votes Popular?

By Kelly McCarthy

November 7, 2012 Updated Nov 7, 2012 at 7:37 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When national media made the call that Barack Obama had won a second term, it was based on the electoral vote count.

At that point in the night, Mitt Romney still had the most popular votes.

In the end, Obama did indeed win with both the popular and electoral vote.

Action News talks with voters and political experts about the Electoral College in this election age.

That proud feeling of walking away from the polling station, knowing you exercised your right to vote.

"I'm extremely happy, I was a first time voter so I was happy to get in there, vote, and I feel like I made a difference," said Natasha Sherwood of Binghamton.

But does one vote in the presidential election really make a difference?

The decision is made by the electoral college, so how does the popular vote fit in?

"You should be looking at it in terms of New York State, how did New York State do, and that is where your popular vote really means a lot individually," said Jim Testani, A.P. Government teacher at Johnson City High School and Adjunct Government professor at Broome Community College.

"I don't exactly agree with the electoral college. It's not fair that they can take away what we actually choose," said Patrick Scanlon of Owego.

In very few elections do the electoral votes differ from the popular votes, but it has happened.

"I mean they are our representatives, but who are they really representing," said Scanlon.

"In some ways, the popular vote in the modern day, maybe should count, maybe that should be the final answer, except that our constitution doesn't allow it," said Testani.

Some voters still value the electoral college and don't see the process changing anytime soon.

"I don't think the majority of America is paying close attention to the elections. So I rather it be left up to the people who maybe are more educated on it," said Joseph Martin of Harpursville.

It's not to take away from the average voter.

One vote really can make a difference.

"If somebody voted for Barack Obama yesterday, and their vote helped push a state over, then they cast a winning vote yesterday," said Testani.

Which will be official on December 17, 2012, when the electors of every state and the District of Columbia cast their votes based on the popular vote in their state.

"I don't think we should exactly do away with it, but we should probably come up with something a little more realistic for nowadays," said Scanlon.

Something to think about over the next four years.

There have been a number of attempts to alter or eliminate the electoral college, especially after the 2000 election when Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost the election.

If approved, the National Popular Vote bill would elect the candidate who gets the most popular votes, while keeping the electoral college.

So far the bill has passed in nine state legislatures.