What are the swing states and why do they matter?

What are Swing states and why they matter

The presidential election results are determined by the Electoral College. The constitution allows each state to decide how its Electoral College votes will be distributed. All states, except Maine and Nebraska, use a winner-take-all approach. That means, if a Candidate wins California, he will have all 55 of California's Electoral College Votes. When candidates begin looking at how many voters in each state support them or oppose them, they can safely assume that certain states are going to vote for them. For example, although many people in Illinois will vote for John McCain this election, Barack Obama knows, through surveys, that the overwhelming majority of Illinoisans will vote for him. Illinois is therefore a “safe state” for Obama. On the other hand, southern states, such as Mississippi, despite getting some votes from Democrats, have a majority voting for Republicans, so Barak Obama can be pretty certain that he won't receive those states' Electoral Votes. Swing states are the states in the middle, where neither Republicans nor Democrats have a clear majority. Those state's votes matter the most to presidential candidates because winning the voters in the swing states could either give them a victory or a loss.

You may have heard the use of the colors, red, blue, and purple to denote states' leanings. A red state is is safely Republican, a blue state is a safe Democratic state, and a purple state is a swing state.

Is this fair? Not entirely. Many people who live in safe states feel disenfranchised because they feel their votes wont matter. Because candidates focus so heavily on swing states, voters in safe states feel that their issues are ignored and their votes are taken for granted by the two major political parties. Lastly, because Democratic candidates have in the past conceded some states long before the elections, those states would have little money or political presence by the Democratic party; in essence, the red states would perpetually stay red because the Democrats stopped reaching out the the electorate in those states. To address this problem, Democratic Chairman Howard Dean began the fifty state strategy after the 2004 elections. The fifty state strategy involves setting up Democratic headquarters and organizers in every state, and pushing for Democratic candidates at all levels. Barack Obama has also put organizers in all the states.

In the throws of the presidential campaign however, candidates have to pay attention to the swing states so they can strategically use their resources and staff. The reason swing states matter to us as activists is because if we live in a safe state, our volunteer time could probably better be used in swing states. How can you do this? It is best to make sure your efforts are in line with Barack Obama's campaign. The campaign suggests calling your local field office as a first step. The campaign will suggest where your time can be most effective.

Why Muslim votes are crucial for Obama victory?

Swing states are mostly defined where an election was decided by less than three percentage points. Muslims being at least 1.5% of the population can easily help swing a state if they are organized to vote and can help other minorities register and mobilize to vote.
In tight elections, like this year, minority votes can have exceptional importance. The case in point is Bush victory from Florida.
Whereas the media failed to recognize, the 2000 election were given to Bush by Muslim votes. He won by 537 votes in Florida where about 80% of the 200,000 Muslims voted for Bush.

Volunteer today for a swing state

Work with us in a swing state: Muslim Democrats are working currently in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. If you would like to work with them, you can volunteer with us so we can connect you with Muslims working in your state or a swing state.

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