Social Question

Coting's avatar

Should everyone vote?

Asked by Coting (371 points ) February 15th, 2010

I often hear people saying “Everyone should vote.”, “Everyone should have their voices heard.”, “Everyone should choose how their country is run.”

I never hear people saying “Understand what your voting for.”, “Know the policies of the parties.”, “etc”

People seem to care more about just getting people out there to vote than getting them people to even understand what they’re voting for.

Should someone who has no idea about policy only a feeling for the leaders of the main two parties vote?

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39 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Rarely does an election come down to a single vote.

Coting's avatar

@lilikoi
um ok. I didn’t say it did.

Sophief's avatar

Good question. I don’t vote and I have never voted. I don’t feel like I know enough or even care enough. Our government is awful anyway, so it will take more than my vote to change it.

TheJoker's avatar

It does make you consider the value of universal suffrage when you see the level of political awareness of most of the population. From what I gather most people seem to vote based on inertia, either they or their parents voted for a particular party, rather than the politics of the party. I can only base this on my experience of friends & acquaintances. Perhaps a system where people earned the right to vote, perhaps through some sort of public service, would be preferable. Therefore only those with an active interest & the inclination to get involved would be heard.

9doomedtodie's avatar

“Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.”

Coting's avatar

@blinkErri
That’s a nice slogan but how true is it?

theichibun's avatar

If you truly don’t care then don’t vote. But really, we’re stuck with whoever gets elected for so long that you really should go gather information so you can make an informed decision.

And if neither side is someone you can live with make up a name. They have to get a majority, and the more votes that come in the more a majority is. That’s the closest we have to voting “I don’t like either of these people.”

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, everyone who’s 18 or older. Creating tests to qualify as a voter is bureaucratic and impractical. And it smells like segregation, keeping illiterate and poor people out.

TheJoker's avatar

@mattbrowne How about some other qualification method. There could be a whole list of things, as you say a test could be one way to qualify, but there could also be things such as military service, volunteering for public works etc. Would this have any impact on your opinion?

thriftymaid's avatar

No. Not everyone. PLEASE NOT EVERYONE.

candide's avatar

If you never hear people expressing those sentiments, then I must ask what crowd you are with, because it gets discussed very often. Personally, I am of the mind that people should only be allowed to vote if they can demonstrate some intelligent reasoning capacity. No, everyone should not vote; some people should just be quiet.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

No, I believe that people who vote should have some idea about how the system works. I don’t want people voting for politicians because their name sounds pretty or you seen them on a commercial hugging a child. Just because you have the right to vote doesn’t mean everyone should. If you don’t keep up with what is going on, and you don’t put some effort to learn about our leaders that are running for office then you need to stay away from the polls. Period.

drhat77's avatar

in the united states in the south they used to have “literacy tests” to make sure blacks wouldn’t vote – they’d keep asking them questions until they failed.

@joker public service is an interesting idea but it would discriminate against those who live hand to mouth and cannot afford to serve the public because they are working 3 jobs just to keep a roof over their head.
Probably the best solution is better education that’ll make all voters more educated but even the best education in. The world will leave tje dumb and apathetic behind

Cruiser's avatar

This essentially is a non-issue as 90% of your decision making is done and over with in the first 2 seconds of meeting anyone even before a word is spoken and the more information you are exposed to for the most part will not change your original first impression.

UScitizen's avatar

No. The uninformed, the ignorant, and the non-taxpayer should not be allowed to vote.

Coting's avatar

@UScitizen
Non tax payers have rights too. How did that famous line go again “No taxation without representation.” Not “No representation without taxation.” The great show the New statesman had a show on this.

Silhouette's avatar

They should all be allowed to vote but lets face it some people haven’t got a clue what they are voting for. The last US election had people who never voted before up off their hillbilly asses voting against the black man.

Steve_A's avatar

Unless you plan to change U.S. laws or the like it does not really matter what you think. If you meet the requirements for the right to vote in America then you can, if you decide to.

Its your choice, I believe thats suppose to be the ideal of America.

I understand the logic behind what people are saying that if you don’t know anything about politics or really care then you should not. But than again who does?

Even considering taking away a persons right to vote is possibly defeating the purpose of America ,that everyone is equal and should have a say.

Not to mention if these people really don’t care they probably will not vote anyways.

@mattbrowne “And it smells like segregation” I agree.

wilma's avatar

@Silhouette you are probably right, it also had people who had never voted before, only voting because they could vote for a “black man.” Some of those folks didn’t even know what his Vice Presidential running-mate’s name was. They were just as uninformed and ignorant as the ”hillbillies”. I don’t think either was right.
I wish there was a better way.

DrC's avatar

Good question….very difficult to answer. I believe that if you are currently in prison, you should lose some rights and not be allowed to vote.

I have personally seen many people in the last presidential election who had no F clue what the candidates stood for and voted based on ideals rather than facts (or lack of facts) and now are asking themselves why their candidate is doing what he is doing. In retrospect, it seems that these voters were not sufficiently informed to know what they were choosing (or didn’t care). Ideally, these would be the voters to weed out or educate them on the issues more. That, however, is impractical and impossible.

The legal arguments about who to include and who to exclude would never be resolved. Maybe you could have a written test about the issues and each candidates platform – and if you get a 90% or above, you prove that you know what you are voting for and would be allowed to vote. Who would write the questions? How would you choose what a passing grade is? Obviously, you would have to have people helping illiterate people take the test by reading it to them. You see, the ACLU would have a field day, the whole issue would be locked up in dispute, and it would not be allowed to happen. But I can dream…....

Silhouette's avatar

@wilma You’re right, both sides of the vote had their share of hillbillies at the polls. My apologizes.

TheJoker's avatar

@drhat77 Heh, thats kinda the point, you dont really want the dumb & apathetic voting.

Broken_Arrow's avatar

Everyone but Republicans. They’re a danger to themselves and others.

CharlieGirl's avatar

No,it’s an option.

john65pennington's avatar

Convicted felons and illegal immigrants should not vote. convicted felons lost their right to vote when the jury declared them “guilty”. illegal immigrants are not U.S. citizens and have no voice in America.

Steve_A's avatar

@john65pennington I don’t think felons can vote….

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Citizens should.

The_Idler's avatar

“People seem to care more about just getting people out there to vote than getting them people to even understand what they’re voting for.”

Yeah, well the first option is much easier than the second…

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

Someone who doesn’t understand what they are voting for or what’s at stake really shouldn’t vote.

“He’s cute; that gray hair really makes him look distinguished.”

Straight ticket voting, * vomits * It shouldn’t be an option on the ballet. At the very minimum you should be forced to, at least once, glance at the name of the individual you are helping bring to power.

Voter turnout is important, but so is responsible voting.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

@Broken_Arrow omg. wow.. so your democratic buddies are all in the right and spend our money so wisely.. oh wait. WHAT MONEY! oh yea.. the ones they have been printing out of the machine. Its ok. I’m the president and since I can’t seem to make any real ideas on how to fix the economy, i’ll just keep upping our deficit.

filmfann's avatar

I say that if you haven’t studied the ballot, and understand the issues, you shouldn’t vote.
Why should some dumbass who is swayed by a commercial cancel out my substantially well thought out vote?

mattbrowne's avatar

@TheJoker – I can’t think of a qualification method with a comprehensive list of options like military service. It would lead to endless arguments about what is and isn’t on the list. I think the best qualification method is people actually having to show up at the polling station or bother with requesting a absentee ballot. People who don’t care at all, don’t vote. Which is a shame of course.

TheJoker's avatar

@mattbrowne No, I cant think of a comprehensive list off the top of my head either. I just get the feeling that people should stop looking a voting as a right, & see it as a privilege. Perhaps more would make the effort then, who knows.

mattbrowne's avatar

Of course it’s a privilege to live in a democracy. And the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

TheJoker's avatar

@mattbrowne Ah, attributed to Thomas Jefferson if memory serves correctly.

CharlieGirl's avatar

I just meant that you don’t HAVE to,but as a citizen,yes,it is required.

mattbrowne's avatar

@TheJoker – Exactly. I think it’s a great quote.

Nullo's avatar

It’s been my experience that when people say, “Everyone should vote,” what they mean is “Everyone should vote for my candidate.”

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Nullo On the other hand, people who say “Not everyone should vote.” usually mean “If less people vote it will be better for my candidate.” This is a paraphrase of Paul Weyrich, one of the “architects” of the New Right.

“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

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