Why you should vote. Or shouldn’t.

I don’t vote. I’m not opposed to voting; frankly I don’t even put much thought into it. Really it was just circumstances that got me started. I screwed up my voter registration the first time around by accidentally applying to vote in a state I didn’t live in (these things happen). Ever since, I’ve just not bothered with it.

“That’s no excuse,” you say. “And why did you register to vote in another state?”  Well, it is an excuse, just maybe not a good one. And it’s a long story, but suffice it to say there were free cookies involved.

Today, I was thinking about the whole voting situation and I wondered if citizens really are obligated to participate in the electoral process. That’s what I hear on occasion, that it’s our duty to try and put the best candidate into office. Whether or not it’s an obligation doesn’t interest me so much, as I can see the merit in getting a good candidate even without being obliged to do so.

It makes good sense to try to put someone into office who will enact policies that are beneficial to your own way of life. That’s a point for voting.

1-0, voting.

There’s two pretty decent counterpoints, I think. One, your vote really doesn’t count that much. There’s honest merit in that argument because it’s true. Certainly there are cases where a vote has come down to the wire, but how often do  you think your one vote will make a difference? Not much. That fact, when taken in alongside counterpoint two carries even more weight.

Counterpoint two: Elections never seem to have a candidate that I want in office. People say you have to at least choose the lesser evil, but I don’t know. The main problem I find with a candidate isn’t his policy, such that I can compare two candidates’ policies and determine which I agree with more. The problem is that the politician doesn’t ever seem to care about their policies once they’re in office. Maybe I’m wrong, but most candidates seem like they’re just pandering for different votes, not like they’re actually different.

And when you figure on that premise, there’s really no good way to tell who the better candidate is. That negates the power of your vote entirely, making it as significant as the flip of a coin. Having already considered that your vote isn’t that significant to begin with, why bother? Point: not voting.

1-1. A tie always goes to the natural state, which in this case is not voting. (Without compulsion, there is no reason to vote. Inaction is always the default when incentive is absent.) So, that’s why I won’t vote unless a candidate that I actually want in office comes along. And even then, good habits are so hard to break.

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2 Responses to Why you should vote. Or shouldn’t.

  1. Beth Ann says:

    I agree with both points, and also don’t vote, which is great because I work in political science. Oops! Anyway I found your blog through r/frugal and I have giggled many times in the 10 minutes I’ve been reading, and therefore conclude you should keep up the good work.

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