Yes, I am taking Voting to task.
I am going to use the listing of 10 reasons to vote from YouthNoise to illustrate some of the problems with the reasons to vote.
Their #10: So you can complain.
If you are eligible to vote, but choose not to, we don't have to listen to your whining!
Really? That tired old notion? Democracy is the ESSENCE of whining. I dare say, voting gives you the privilege of knocking back and granting laziness to people to let the chips fall where they may. "I voted." Whoopedy doo! If you voted for the winner, you will probably stop paying too much attention. If you voted for the loser, you will probably become disenfranchised and apathetic right? Maybe not, but the point is, win or lose, vote or not, you have the right and RESPONSIBILITY to complain no matter what happens in the voting booth. ESPECIALLY if you aren't in it.
#9 It's your right.
Young people, women and underrepresented groups all fought hard for the right to vote. And even today there are countries where people are still dying for the right to vote.
Let those who want to die for that right fight for it. That only makes the case for us insuring that those backward countries have the same right to DECLINE the right and privilege to vote. It's about choice- this guilt mechanism shouldn't work. We all have the right to say, no thanks to voting too.
Does it seem as if politicians are a bunch of old white males? Well, in Congress only 13 percent of members are of color, and only 14 percent are women. Want to change it? Vote.
That would make a LOT of sense... if the country wasn't run under a two party system that has been entrenched since the very first election essentially. You want more women? Found a Female-based party. You want more black, hispanic, etc? Found parties based on those, but the most likely candidate in the majority of races is still going to be a white dude. This is also a false notion that a black man CAN'T represent a white dude or that a white dude CAN'T represent a female hispanic voter, talk about all the -isms THAT represents.
You get to wear an "I Voted" sticker -- definitely fashionable.
Well this did come from a youth site. But something to illustrate that other than a sticker, what do you have to show for the cost tradeout you might have made to vote for the "lesser of two evils?"
#6 More federal money...
for youth programs, the environment, HIV/AIDS or breast cancer research whatever your cause! Where do the candidates stand on your issue? Find out and make sure your concerns are their concerns.
Sorry, but in this day and age, even if you voted, that is going to get LOST in the mire of DC politics. You STILL have to CAMPAIGN once they are in office for whatever it is you want resources for. This one day a year junk is for the birds. Focus on where your true goals are.
#5 To cancel out someone else's vote.
Whether it's your Dad, your Mom, your teacher, or your soccer coach -- you probably know someone who is going to vote the opposite of you.
Wow. The epitome of balance of power. Can you think of a WORSE reason to vote? You don't have to think of someone you know, and apparently hate, to find someone who thinks opposite of you. Odds are pretty good that the politician you are voting for doesn't like something you like. Why not vote for their opponent to get back at them?
#4 To bust the stereotype!
"Young people are lazy, they don't care, they won't vote." That's what they say. Let's prove them wrong.
Again, this came from a youth oriented site, but the stereotype argument works for ANYONE. National turn out numbers are atrocious. In 2008, the year when people thought things were going to be different. Most stats will tell you only 60% of the eligible folks bothered. That means that 40% in recent history, and the number is much higher for local elections and in the past, didn't bother to vote or even be registered. Youth or not, we don't vote and here we are over 200 years later and democracy is still going.
#3 If you don't vote, someone else will.
Our government was designed for citizen participation, so if you don't vote - other people are going to make the decisions for you.
Seriously, they already ARE. This sounds too much like #6, but it's not. Its another guilt mechanism, but again you are 50-50 as to whether the person you want will win. Meaning no matter how you vote, there is a 50% chance of being completely disappointed. It's a fallacy to assume that our government was designed for citizen participation. REALLY? Why did we have to do all that fighting for voting rights? The original voters in this country were RICH, OLD, WHITE DUDES. And you know what, those same people you wanted may not do what you want in the first place.
#2 Every vote counts.
The 2000 Presidential election proved how close things can get, so really every vote counts.
Really? It might be huge if you live in a town of 100 people, but in larger elections the numbers don't bear out that you are going to play a huge part in the whole kit and kaboodle. Is this to suggest that your vote doesn't count? No, but does it really mean anything? That's in the eye of the beholder.
Want to make some? Then vote!
Go for it. I gave all the reasons not to. But the reality is, the election is going on whether you, I or anyone else votes. And in any case, we only have TWO choices. Scream from the rooftop that you have voted. Once the politician is in there, other than the money needed for the NEXT election, they really don't have much need of you- do they?
People do the cost-benefit analysis EVERY year to figure out if it is worth their time. The main reasons given not to vote include apathy towards the candidates, lack of knowledge of candidates (no excuse in this day and age), and problems with voting (really? with all the early, absentee voting capabilities? again, no excuse).
Yes, I'm fairly apathetic, but I'm going to vote. Why? Just because. Or not...
- The 2010 Election Results Could Come Down to Your Vote (politics.usnews.com)
- Casting One's Vote: Fathoming a Private Ritual With a Great Public Consequence(politicsdaily.com)
- Voting Problems 2010: How to Report Voting Problems in 2010 (nowpublic.com)
- Why people vote (thehill.com)
- No one owns my vote (americablog.com)