General Question

dalepetrie's avatar

For those of you who don't vote, would you care to support your decision?

Asked by dalepetrie (18007points) July 5th, 2009

This is meant to be a completely voluntary exercise, and I’m not asking so that I can judge you or convince you that you’re wrong. I do however vote, in every election, and you can expect me to challenge you if I see a problem with your logic or have an alternate point of view I’d like you to consider, and I welcome others to challenge you too, but at the end of the day, I support your right to do as you please.

This question IS however meant to open up a debate, so if you’re not prepared to debate your decision, I won’t begrudge you if you don’t answer this question, that’s completely up to you. And though I promise not to berate you if I disagree with you, I do intend offer a counterpoint (if I have one) to any point you make if I don’t agree with it or if I think you should see it from a different angle. But, I’m not approaching this with an “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality, just looking to engage in a good discussion about why people make the choices they do.

To be honest, I see good arguments to be made about choosing not to vote, and more often than not, I end up voting not for my candidate of choice, but for the person I suspect will do the least harm, but even though I’m often left unhappy with the choices I have, I still choose to exercise my right to vote, and I take that right very seriously and have very strong reasons why I think voting is THE right thing to do. I suspect if you don’t vote, you have very strong reasons why you think THAT is the right thing to do, and I’d simply like to hear the counterpoint and open up the issue for discussion.

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14 Answers

Ivan's avatar

Most Fluther questions apparently aren’t voluntary?

Thammuz's avatar

Necessary information: in Italy voting is a “mandatory right” which means you have to vote, if you don’t you could get a fine for it.

Regardless, i still don’t vote, or if i do i invalidate. Why? George Carlin once said “if you vote you have no right to complain”, and i agree: if you don’t like something but still use it (like most windows bashers, who talk but don’t change their system) you’re just being a hypocrite. Furthermore if enough people don’t vote in Italy that can undo the whole election, thus calling in a ballot. It’s a stalling tactic, in time this will eventually make this whole idiocy crumble. partisan democracy does’t work, and i don’t plan on supporting a system i don’t believe in.

Ansible1's avatar

Sothpark: it’s like choosing between a giant douche and a turd sandwich

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Voting is the only way to make your voice heard.
The USA has far too much voter apathy.
Doing something is always better than doing nothing when it comes to voting.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Ivan – I just mean that I’m not going to call out anyone whom I know has stated they don’t vote and say, where are you @userx?

@Thammuz – Interesting to know, kind of envisioned it as a question for people who weren’t compelled to vote. I understand the idea that if your not voting holds a strategic purpose, then it’s kind of still like voting. As Rush said (the band, not the talk show host), “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Sounds to me that you are saying the same thing, “I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose free will” to carry the analogy 3 steps too far!

@Ansible1 – I saw that one, makes a good joke, not necessarily good policy though. I mean, if you’ve got that “not so fresh feeling”, the douche would be a better choice, and if you wanted to light something on fire on you’re evil neighbor’s doorstep, then the turd sandwich would be the right choice. I see voting as often a choice between the lesser of two evils, not always, I was actually happy to vote for Obama, but usually, as a liberal, I vote for the Democrat, not because I’m a Democrat, but because the Republican ideals are as far from what I want to see in my government as I can imagine, and if I don’t vote against them, it’s the same as laying down and letting them screw everything up. And the fact that the republicans are the ones that have as much as said they want to make turnout as small as possible, they want to make it harder to vote, not easier, they demonize charitable organizations which register voters, they try to make laws in the name of stopping “voter fraud” when the facts are that in over a decade there have been maybe a couple dozen incidents of people trying to do what they’re worried about out of hundreds of millions of votes cast, while their efforts to suppress voter registration keep millions away from the polls, to me it’s something that I HAVE to do. For my ideology it often comes down to a choice between someone who basically espouses a good share of what I believe, but is far from perfect, and is still a politician who would sell me down the river in a second, and someone whose entire ideology is about doing exactly the opposite of what I want done. I don’t like casting my vote for the one candidate in other words, but the other choice is so unthinkably awful to me that I have no choice.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Thammuz
Mandatory? That’s bullshit.

JLeslie's avatar

I think if you don’t care and don’t make any effort to know about the issues, don’t vote. I do not believe in voting for voting’s sake—what if you vote or the wrong guy, that is worse than a no vote. I do think it is important to know the issues, be involved, and vote. I did not vote until the Gore/Bush run. So I missed at least two elections I could have voted in. During Gore Bush I RAN to register…terrified of Bush :). In retrospect I wish I had been more involved at a younger age, but I simply wasn’t.

Blondesjon's avatar

I don’t vote because, unless you are in a group of 12 people or less, it does not mean shit.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Blondesjon since we both live in the land of lincoln, we should realize that our two votes don’t count when compared to all the dead people in Chicago voting against us.

SeventhSense's avatar

Everyone should exercise their vote period. Not to do so makes the blood of our ancestors for naught.
Arm chair quarterbacks. ~_~

dalepetrie's avatar

@JLeslie – I agree with you…if you don’t care and don’t know about the issues, you probably shouldn’t vote, but I wouldn’t try to stop you if you wanted to.

@Blondesjon – only problem with that is when it becomes a pervasive attitude. In the 2008 Presidential election, for example, there were 231 million people of voting age in the US. 213 million of these people were eligible (presumably the other 18 million were ineligible for being non citizens, felons or for some other reason). Of these people, only 169 million were registered to vote, and of those registered, only 132 million voted. So, basically, the difference between 213 million people who COULD vote, vs 132 million who did vote is 81 million votes lost. Obama got 69 million votes. But let’s say all 81 million people who didn’t vote actually turned out, hell, a 3rd party candidate could win…we could actually have 3 major parties instead of just two…and any time there’s more competition, it’s a good thing on the whole.

Also consider the 2000 election…officially Bush won Florida by a couple hundred votes, every vote mattered, and if every vote didn’t matter, the Republicans never would have made a full court press there to suppress the Democratic vote. Look at Minnesota…we just gave the US it’s 60th Democrat in the Senate….when the polls closed, his challenger was up by 215 votes, by the time the recounts and the court cases were settled, the winner was up by just over 300 votes…this is out of 3 million cast. And wasn’t there an election in the state of Washington a few years back that was ultimately decided by 8 votes? I would contend that if people who felt the way you did about it actually voted, it could be meaningful, it’s not like you’re the only one who feels this way. I guess I look at it this way…if I’d have stayed home, would my one vote have EVER tipped the scales a different direction? No, it wouldn’t have. But if I allow myself the luxury of saying, it doesn’t matter, so I’m not going to do it, a few others could do that too, and it could in net matter.

Just food for thought, I understand where you’re coming from nonetheless.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a need to say that the first election I voted in Bush/Gore, remember I was TERRIFIED of Bush…I had just moved from Palm Beach County, FL to Raleigh, NC. I wish my vote had been counted in FL. I hate the electoral college. My vote means something in FL, means nothing in the state I live now, TN, and would mean very little in NY also, it only counts in the swing states. Lastly, my girlfriend right after she voted in FL for that election…she had taken her 80 something mother to vote also. Anyway, she called me and said, “I hope my mother voted for the right person that ballot was so confusing.” This was before anything was on the TV about problems with voting. I get a laugh when my friends say negative things about the third world when it comes to elections, how do you think we look from the outside on that one? But, I am way off topic now.

Thammuz's avatar

@dalepetrie Precisely what i meant, you couldn’t have been more spot on than that.
I would love a “none of the above” box to tick on my ballot paper, but since that’s missing i will just have to not vote at all or to void my vote.

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