The Case For Voting

Some of us have the luxury of living in a democracy. In case you didn’t know, democracy is Greek for “peoples choice”, and just like it has been since the dawn of this institution, that means the many vote for the few to represent us.

It’s actually quite a simple duty, to vote, but a duty nonetheless.

While my choice (had I been able to vote in the US presidential election) would’ve been very simple: “not Bush”, this rant is not about who you should vote for. Rather, I want to urge you who is able and eligible to vote, to do your democratic duty – no matter which candidate you should finally choose.

See it in a perspective—I mean the really big picture. If you take a look at the world today and compare it to what it was a hundred years ago—or indeed a thousand years ago, things have improved. The democratic system, while far from perfect, is the best we have yet to achieve in forms of governing. The individual actually can influence what happens in their country, albeit they only represent a minuscule share of the votes. It does make a difference.

It is not really about picking sides. It’s not about Bush or Kerry, it’s not about republicans or democrats. It’s about supporting the very system your or my nation was built on. If our grandfathers and mothers thought it was worth fighting and dying for, then what are you doing on your couch? You are asked upon once every 4 years. You are asked a simple question, and there is no right or wrong. Your answer is not questioned, approved or disapproved, indeed you can’t go wrong. Yet some still choose not to vote, and stay home on that one day every 4 years. By doing so, they are pissing on history, pissing on those who fought for democracy, pissing on the laws and constitutions their country was built on, and indeed pissing on every fellow countryman they’ll ever encounter.

Some say they are trying to send a message that none of the candidates represent them. Some say they do not know enough about politics. Some say they don’t care, some say it doesn’t matter. What they fail to understand is that there is a message they can send—but that message is just not to stay home.

Vote blank.

Yes, when you are given your vote, don’t choose anyone. Just post it without voting. They’ll be counted, and added to a pile. By doing this, you are clearly saying “Yes, I care—I voted, but neither of the candidates swayed me, or informed me enough about what this is all about! Do better next time please!”

This is a message. Clearly, if enough people didn’t care for either of the available candidates and voted blanks, then truly new options would appear by the next election. Staying home wouldn’t send this message… if anything it would say “I don’t care, you can run my country in whatever way you please.”

There is no excuse not to vote. Now go register, and do your duty!

References

11 thoughts on “The Case For Voting”

  1. “There is no excuse not to vote.”

    Oh yes there is!

    Here in England, our most recent local elections were administered in the most dreadful way imaginable: the polling stations of yore were non-existent – the British Goverment (also known as the American Government) conducted the election by postal vote.

    Now this, in itself, is no bad thing. But, and it’s a fucking huge “but” (like J-Lo’s), each voting form had a the voter’s name and address on it, along with a unique bar-code (National Insurance number? ID number? Concentration Camp number?).

    Thus the administrators could see which candidate/party I voted for! Now I’m sorry, but under no circumstances will I register any political vote where I am identified in this manner. No way.

    Case closed.

  2. Joen says:

    Good comeback.

    You’re absolutely right. That is a reason not to vote. I stand corrected.

    But honestly, thats an outrage! Surely it must’ve created a huge public reaction, or? Was it always like this?

    …(also known as the American Government)

    Haha, this made me laugh out loud! 🙂

  3. It’s funny, I don’t remember their being any outrage at all (apathy? ignorance?).

    I do remember that the whole thing turned into a complete sham:

    There were concerns about the usability of the ballot form (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3805251.stm);

    There were concerns about fraud (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/3802927.stm);

    Our once-revered postal service couldn’t get the completed forms back in time, so hundreds of thousands of votes were disqualified because they weren’t received before the deadline (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/3794473.stm);

    Some voters didn’t even receive their ballot papers (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/3784013.stm).

    As you can see, the whole poll was a mess. The results should have been discounted completely and reconducted.

  4. No Joen, it wasn’t always like this. This is the first time in British history that a vote has been conducted in this manner (as far as I can remember/ascertain).

  5. Joen says:

    Which election was this? Is it this current 2004 election?

    I’m sorry for not knowing more about this. The US election has overshadowed every other election for me.

    It is indeed a mess. A shambles, to quote one of the articles you linked. Let’s hope such a thing never ever happens again.

  6. It was the most recent local MP and Euro MP election (May 2004 I think).

    I should point out this is not the same as our “General Election” – which is where we choose our Prime Minister. Even so, it’s an extremely dangerous precedent that has been established.

  7. Joen says:

    Ah, that explains the lack of, shall we say public outrage. Also in Denmark there was very little media coverage and almost no interest in the EU election.

    I voted of course, and it does annoy me that so few fellow danes voted, even though it “wasn’t a prime minister”. Considering the UK experienced the problems you mention, it’s a surprise that anyone voted at all.

    Indeed it is a dangerous precedent.

  8. Tristan says:

    Great article Joen. I agree with every bit. And no, I’m not going into my spiel of “Kerry is the only one who can beat him” and such.

    But everyone who can, please do yourself and your country a service by simply voting. If the majority of this country truly wants Bush elected, then so be it, but if you didn’t get out and vote, then you get no say in the matter afterward or any time.

    And the business with postal ballots in England—absurd! Must have been an outrage. Let’s hope that the precedent set is in fact the failure of the idea.

  9. Joen says:

    Exactly. If the shrubbery gets re-elected by a landslide vote in his favor, and 95% voted, then I’d shut up for 4 years!

    If, however, Bush only barely wins, and it’s like 2000 where the popular vote went to Gore, that would be harder to accept.

  10. Mark Michon says:

    Good to see more of these posts. There have been many organizations in recent years promoting voter turnout. In fact the very reason many people, and I use this example a lot because it is true, is that people do not feel the politicians listen to them. The 18-25 age group has the largest number of potential voters, yet votes at an incredibly low percentage. The exact number is filed away somewhere from political science courses, but if even half voted they could swing an election either way.

    I think one of the main issues, after you eliminate knowledge, caring, etc. is that it is rather difficult to get to polling stations and vote. Its on a Tuesday. Now most people work on Tuesday, and the polls open when work starts and they close at 7ish at night. Many people work a 9 to 5 and with the drive/ride home, and dinner for a family, they miss out on the polling times. This year I noticed Florida, my state, has a few “early voting” dates at about one location per county. Good idea, but still lacking.

    Absentee ballots, or mail in ballots, are in theory a good idea. Especially for one like myself in college who does not want to go through the process of changing license addresses, changing voter registration addresses, or driving 3 hours on a day with classes to vote. The problem here lies in the lack of prompt counting for absentee ballots. They are the last to be counted, assuming that even occurs(and they are not lost like 4 years ago), and because of this many will not even bother to apply or submit one.

    Rather long rant of sorts, but we do have a very flawed system. The one thing I do not understand is how people say they do not know enough to vote. You can find a list of each candidates viewpoints on every subject imaginable and simply compare the two. Non-Cable news has dropped its coverage substantially of conventions, but there are still plenty of other resources available.

  11. Joen says:

    On a Tuesday? But why? Ack, that pains me. Most votes we have here in Denmark are on a Sunday. That’s pretty nice. You can get up late, have breakfast, take a walk to the polling station and place your vote, then follow the results during the evening. It works well. I’m so sorry it doesn’t work that way for you, and it definitely explains why so many choose not to vote.

    I hope things will be better this year, than it was 4 years ago.

Comments are closed.