on not voting

i heard an interview on NPR the other day, in which they interviewed 3 people who do not plan to vote.  I was very interested in hearing why people would not vote, and go on a radio show to talk about it.  It implies that they have thought about it, and are not simply totally apathetic.  Generally, what it boiled down to: 1) I live in a totally red/blue state – my vote won’t matter anyway, and 2) I’m not happy with either candidate, I hate our two-party system, and when I voted for a 3rd party candidate 20 years ago, they didn’t win, so what’s the point?

I didn’t walk away feeling terribly understanding to their apparent plight.  I mean, if you’re interested enough in politics to feel terribly strongly that our two-party system or the electoral college is seriously problematic, and you’re not voting for that reason, what aren’t you interested enough to 1) vote for a 3rd party candidate to make your voice heard…if everybody that preferred 3rd party candidates actually voted, or if everybody that hated the two-party system took the time to research and vote for third party candidates, I think it would be a big chunk of the population and 2) if the electoral college system sucks so much, why not spend some time donating money/time to an organization trying to change it?

I’m not saying it has to become your whole life – few people want to dedicate their careers to changing the US electoral system, and that’s fine.  But if you feel strong enough to give up your (ideally) most direct way of impacting the government, I would argue that by sitting out (and pouting, it seems), you’re not changing anything.  You’re just making sure that nobody hears your voice.  And what’s the point in that?

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2 Responses to “on not voting”

  1. As far as I’m concerned, any excuse used to not vote is a cop out. Period. Even your employer legally has to give you time off to vote, so saying “I have work” doesn’t even cut it. Vote, people.

  2. PS. I heard the same interview you’re talking about and was pretty horrified by the “My vote won’t count” argument. BULLSHIT! Tell it to Al Gore!

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