Can a vote be wasted?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by imac/cheese, Sep 24, 2009.

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Is a vote wasted if it is not for a candidate that actually has a chance of winning?

  1. Yes

    8 vote(s)
    26.7%
  2. No

    22 vote(s)
    73.3%
  1. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 7, 2007
    #1
    Do you think that a vote is wasted if it is not for a candidate that actually has a chance of winning?
     
  2. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    In a multi-party system (> 2), no, there's no wasted vote.
    In the US' actual 2 party system, yes, one's vote is probably wasted.
     
  3. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    Chicagoland
    #3
    Nope, cause the vote has fulfilled its duty of allowing you to select who you want do/be/etc.
     
  4. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #4
    I voted 3rd party last election, no way in hell they were going to win.
     
  5. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #5
    It's a catch-22. Voting for a 3rd party candidate who has no chance of winning is wasting a vote, but 3rd party candidates will never have a chance of winning because people don't vote for them because they think it's a waste.

    And in the case of presidential elections, thanks to the electoral college, even voting for one of the two major parties would be a wasted vote. Voting for John McCain in Illinois or Barack Obama in Alabama would be just as big of a waste as writing in Daffy Duck. That vote only matters if you live in a swing state.
     
  6. imac/cheese thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    A single vote doesn't even matter in a swing state. Even in Florida in 2000, a single vote wouldn't have changed the outcome.
     
  7. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #7
    No, of course not. One vote won't change anything. But I didn't feel like I was wasting my time voting for Obama in Missouri because we are a swing state and if enough people have the "It doesn't matter" attitude, it does begin to matter. But, if I lived in a deep red state, I would almost feel like it's not worth going to the polls. I still would vote because I'm one of those who believe that if you don't vote, you shouldn't complain about anything, but in the back of my mind I would still be thinking to myself "Why am I doing this?" Likewise, I'd think the same thing if I lived in a solid blue state.
     
  8. imac/cheese thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I definitely believe that voting is hugely important, but I just wonder why so many people feel handcuffed into voting for one of the two major political parties. You are right yg17 that it is a catch 22. People complain that they only have two bad choices but are unwilling to cast their vote for a third party because that party does not have a chance to actually win. I feel that all my vote really amounts to is a statement (however small it may be) of support. Since my vote is not going to change the outcome of any election, I don't see it as a waste of a vote to give it to a third party.
     
  9. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #9
    It's not one person voting for a 3rd party that ends up changing the outcome of an election. It's when a group of people do it. The 2000 and 2004 elections may have turned out differently if Nader wasn't in the picture. Did all of his voters waste their vote? I really can't say, it depends on if they were just trying to make a "I hate the 2 party system! I'm voting for Nader!" statement, or if they really supported him and agreed with him. Did it change the outcome of the election? Possibly, and most would agree it wasn't for the better.
     
  10. freeny macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #10
    Even voting for a third party candidate, if they were to win, wouldnt change anything because that candidate would have to function within the much larger system already in place. The third party would have even less a chance at getting anything done because they would have little to no representation in congress. The third party candidate would be forced to team up with one side or the other...
     
  11. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #11
    In a "first past the post" system, by definition every vote that is not for the winning candidate is wasted.

    In proportional representation systems with multi-candidate constituencies, it's much less so. List systems allocate seats based on the number of votes for a party , whereas under a single transferrable vote system (the Irish system), by ranking the candidates in order of preference, the voter gets to choose who the vote transfers on to if their preferred candidate is eliminated, or if the vote was surplus to requirements to elect their preferred candidate.

    The result of PR systems is that smaller parties have a decent chance of gaining some representation.

    Or the third party candidate could hold the balance of power and be the kingmaker - a very powerful position.

    Often in coalition governments, the minor party, or independent candidates exert a disproportionate power.
     
  12. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #12
    One can only waste his vote by not exercising his right to cast it.
     
  13. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    #13
    No, it's not wasted . . . if you equally like/dislike the major candidates.
     
  14. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Actually the best example was 1992
     
  15. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #15
    Hey I will say I voted in the election for president and my vote was third party. My reasoning was it is both the canidates suck.

    They both are selfserving slim balls who only care in the world is more power for themselves. Screw everyone else.

    I proud to say I did not vote for the guy in office.
     
  16. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    FL
    #16
    2+

    Even if a candidate you support has no chance of winning, casting a vote for him/her is a show of support, and does have some power. Taken to the extreme, if no one casts a vote for the underdog, the winner would get 100% of the vote and claim a mandate.
     
  17. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #17
    The words we choose to describe things affects how we think about them.

    Example: you probably haven't thought about how odd the term "identity theft" is. The thief has not stolen your "identity" from you, and it is not clear what it would even mean for someone to attempt to do so. Instead he has stolen some money from your bank and your bank failed in its duty to properly authorize that transaction. Calling it "identity theft" is your bank's way of blaming you for their own failure, and trying to leave you maximally on the hook for the money.

    Likewise, calling it a "wasted vote" tacitly blames the voter instead of focusing on the mathematically broken system that discourages people from voting their true consciences. It carries the implication that anyone who doesn't support one of the two major parties has "wrong" opinions, which is exactly how we tend to treat anyone who holds opinions consistent with some third party or other.
     
  18. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    #18
    There are contrarians who just like to complain. About how screwed up everything is. About how they always get the short end of the stick. They vote 3rd party and can feel good their candidate didn't win. It allows them to continually complain about the government without feeling any responsibility.
     
  19. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #19
    Every vote is sacred; every vote is great.
    If a vote is wasted, God gets quite irate.
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    UK
    #20
    Even if you spoil your ballot you aren't wasting your vote. If enough people do that it would be a big deal.
     
  21. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #21
    Seems like a really childish and immature way to say you don't care to meaningfully participate. Far too many people have bled and died to safeguard your right to be heard on election day.

    Voting isn't obligatory, but those who won't vote need to sit down and **** when they don't like the results.
     
  22. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    Location:
    UK
    #22
    Or maybe (as the Republicans frequently argue) all the parties standing in your constituency are as bad as each other.

    If that is the case spoiling your ballot shows you aren't just lazy.

    Certainly I may do that in the UK if the Liberal Democrats have no decent policies (or they aren't better than Labour/Conservatives) and the Green party aren't standing.
     
  23. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #23
    Socialist.
     
  24. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    CT
    #24
    It is only a wasted vote because people tell themselves it is. If everyone voted for the person the vote is not a waste anymore.
     
  25. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    Up the irons
    #25
    I vote for a candidate. I vote for his or her policy. That is not a wasted vote. A wasted vote is a vote for the lesser of two evils.
     

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