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Florida election: Millions of votes Tuesday won't matter -- but yours will

11:44 AM, Nov 5, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- There are so many reasons it's great to a be a Floridian.

The scenery is incredible. Wearing shorts in November isn't bad. And how about that state income tax? It's a big ol' zero -- pretty nice.

But there's another reason living in Florida is a big deal. Your vote for president really, really matters here.

It's tough to write this, but there will be more than 75 million votes for president counted across America tomorrow that do not matter.

That's because they come in states that are all but guaranteed to go to one candidate or the other.

Remember, if you get 51 percent of the vote in a state, you get all of the Electoral College votes -- 29 of them in Florida. The candidate who got 49 percent of the vote gets nothing.

So winning states is what matters.

For example, take Texas. Mitt Romney is so favored there, that no matter who you vote for as one person, it won't change the outcome.

Your vote is a drop in the bucket, either on the winning or the losing side. Mitt Romney is taking Texas.

Florida is different. Here's why.

Almost every strategist says Mitt Romney must win Florida to win the presidency.

The map of electoral votes he needs to win simply doesn't work without the biggest swing state going his way -- and that's Florida. That makes Florida critical to both candidates. 

New York Times writer Nate Silver makes his living predicting election outcomes. He uses statistics; it's kind of like Moneyball, but with politics.

Florida is the only state that Silver says even he can't predict. We are a true tossup.

And Hillsborough County in particular is a prime spot. The winner in Hillsborough has been the winner nationwide in every presidential election, except for one, since 1960.

Still not convinced?

Let's travel back in time to the year 2000. This number will forever look back at us from the history books: 537 votes in Florida, out of nearly six million cast.

That's what decided the presidency -- 537 votes.

To give you an idea of the scale of that, picture Raymond James Stadium packed full for a Bucs game.

I know, that doesn't happen often these days, but bear with me.

If the total number of votes in Florida were equal to the almost 66,000 people at Ray Jay -- just six people would have made the difference in the 2000 election.

Not a whole section, not even a row of seats. Just six people.

That should encourage you to get informed and cast a ballot tomorrow, because here in Florida, it really does matter.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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