Choosing not to vote?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by AP_piano295, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 9, 2005
    #1
    I chose not to vote for the first time this last election.

    I'm not at all sure that I made the right choice. But I did/do have my reasons. I decided that always choosing to vote for the "lesser" of two evils might not be sending the right message to my representatives.

    I have felt quite betrayed by the democratic party over the last two to four years. And this election I just decided that my congressman (Tom Perriello VA 5th district) wasn't going to get my vote just because the other guy is probably (almost certainly) worse.

    My reasons for refusing to vote for Perriello.

    -His beliefs that heath care is not a right
    -His unwillingness to draw a clear line between his religion and his politics.
    -His choice to constantly define and vote as a quite conservative liberal

    Now I also liked a-lot of things about Perriello, mainly that he was always quite honest about his beliefs and intentions. But in the end I really didn't feel like he deserved my vote, so I didn't vote at all.

    Has anyone else ever felt like not voting is perhaps their best way to express their political feelings?
     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #2
    Don't ever not vote. Vote third party if you must, but always vote. No one hears you if you don't vote. But at least if you vote third party or write someone in, you are sending a message.
     
  3. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

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    Jan 28, 2009
    #3
    This is a difficult one. Ideally, choosing not to vote would be a sign of dissatisfaction with the candidates (or effectively serve as a 're-open nominations' option). However, due to the inevitability of conflation between conscientious objection to the candidates, and voter apathy, all this does is serve to reinforce popular opinion on indifference from the electorate.

    Where do I stand? An integral part of any form of democracy is freedom of choice. There is a freedom to choose not to participate if one chooses not to (at least in the US model) and there will be no repercussions from this. But remember that due to the elite-based nature of any representative system, that nothing will be gained through not taking part, and in fact one of your very few opportunities to exercise your freedom of choice has been spoiled. In any situation of multiple choices, there must be one that is less bad than the other(s), even if they have no realistic chance of being elected.
     
  4. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

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    England
    #4
    To answer your direct question, no, I've never willingly not voted.

    However, in the UK 'spoilt' votes are counted and shown in the electoral return, and so this can be an established way of saying that (a) you don't agree sufficiently with any of the candidates to vote for them, but (b) you feel strongly enough about the democratic process to 'register' your feelings and be counted.

    Not sure if this is an option in the US though.
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #5
    If you don't vote, then don't complain about the political process.

    You've decided to not voice an opinion, to not make a difference. So don't complain when someone else's choice doesn't suit you.
     
  6. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #6
    The only third party candidate on the ballot in my district was a tea party member...

    I know that you've been pissed about the democrats bs. over the last few years Lee. Heath care cop out, failure to end don't ask don't tell or to confront all this anti gay marriage horse *****. And that list doesn't end there.

    If I just keep voting for democrats because they aren't as bad as Republicans it feels like I'm just voting for the status quo. And I'm not happy with the status quo. I want candidates who actually support my views.

    Democrats have gotten complacent, as the right has become more and more extreme democrats have started to feel like they don't need to be progressive. Because theres no way any liberal will vote for the other guy.

    Maybe choosing to abstain isn't the right move but I'll be damned if I know what I should do anymore.
     
  7. iJohnHenry, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

    iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #7
    That's just pure BS.

    There are many, unlike you, that rightly figure that the game is rigged right from the start, so why feign endorsement of something you don't believe in.
     
  8. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    #8
    I'd never be able to vote if I had standards that high or if I had to agree with the candidate on every issue.
     
  9. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #9
    Then vote for the candidate you most like, but contact them to communicate your expectations.

    - Why should a candidate who's chosen to take part in the political process take criticism from someone who has chosen to be outside of it.

    - If your leanings are for a left wing candidate (just for example), stopping voting for them doesn't 'punish them', it just hands an extra vote to the right wing candidate. Completely pointless.

    And if you think it's rigged right from the start, what are you doing about it? Because noone cares if you don't vote or spoil the voting paper.
     
  10. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    totally cool
  11. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #11
    Most people hate jury duty. If you want to discourage more people from voting, that would be a good way.
     
  12. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #12
    in california they use driver license records as well, so they'll get you anyway :p
     
  13. renewed macrumors 68040

    renewed

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    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    #13
    Run for office.
     
  14. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #14
    I didn't drive or vote for years. Used a passport or an old out-of-state license for identification. That does the trick.
     
  15. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #15
    The message that not voting at all sends is; "do what ya want guys! hey, you don't have to worry about ME at all".......still, I understand how you feel.
     
  16. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    Location:
    Michigan
    #16
    Agreed.

    There's also another option, run as a write in candidate:p But in all seriousness, you can legitimately do that, I just had the pleasure of managing a write-in campaign for school board in my hometown, that got launched three weeks before the election (if you need a stress inducer, that is the route to take).

    Long story short, a group of students (me included) went to our school board, and asked the to include sexual orientation in the district anti-discrimination policy, the majority of the board voted against it due to "moral obligations."

    So we drafted a former board member to run. I managed the campaign with the help of my mother and one other adult, and we managed to get 11.5% of the vote (nearly 1,000 votes), which sent a fairly clear message (even though the candidate did not win).

    Moral: if you don't take action, no one hears you or fears you (you need to make the politicians fear you).

    -Don
     
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    Penryn
    #17
    Here in California, the ballot had a couple of dozen names as well as half a dozen ballot measures. I think it's important to vote but I don't believe it's necessary to cast a vote for every race. Our city council had 3 open positions but only 2 reasonably candidates. I voted for those two but left the third one blank.

    Politics, like news is local.

    Unfortunately, it's also sometimes necessary to hold one's nose closed while voting.

    Not showing up at the polls is NOT taking a stand, in my most humble opinion.
     
  18. RebootD macrumors 6502a

    RebootD

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    #18
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A341 Safari/528.16)

    Always vote. I knew the people I voted for had no chance of winning in my district but I cast my ballot anyway.
     
  19. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #19
    I very much disagree with this because it assumes that voting is the only way to voice a political opinion. Not voting is a perfectly acceptable form of political participation. It is a negative form of participation, but participation nonetheless. However, I think that a politics of negativity is often the best course of action in what is essentially a two party system, especially the system here where Democrats tend to be too far right (as in the case the OP mentions).

    I have never voted for a candidate I support because there's never been a candidate I support. I have only voted in situations where I felt that the other guy shouldn't get in.
     
  20. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #20
    So, how do the political parties know that you're exercising your disapproval and not just sitting home watching 'America's got talent'.

    If you don't take part and vote, noone cares what you think.
     
  21. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    Mar 22, 2010
    #21
    The only time I didn't vote was one local election where the only office up for grabs was harbor commissioner or something like that.

    Otherwise, vote dammit.

    And choose the lesser of two evils! It is the lesser evil after all.


    +1
     
  22. eye macrumors 6502a

    eye

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    Detroit
    #22
    So, if I vote one way and it goes the other, my complaints will be valued more?

    Who cares, there's no difference between the people running on either "side" so I save myself some time by not pretending that it will make a difference.
     
  23. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #23
    Interesting question. From my point of view, the politics the politicians 'do' is but one form of political engagement so it doesn't make a difference what the political parties 'know.' See, I don't understand how from your point of view anyone knows what I think when I vote. I fill in some circles on a large piece of paper. Does that tell anyone what I think? I vote for Barak Obama even though I disagree with almost everything he's proposed. How does that tell anyone what I think?

    The problem is that in a representative democracy one already has to make concessions in voting for someone to speak for you. When that process is perverted in a two party system one is faced with the prospect of making so many concessions that the representative doesn't approximate a representation of one's opinions.
     
  24. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 16, 2010
    #24
    So, by your logic, if you aren't satisfied with the selection of a certain kind of product in the store, you should always buy something anyway?
     
  25. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    Hudson Valley NY
    #25
    What if all of the candidates are in favor of something you oppose? Should you go against your own moral values just so you can say "yeah, I voted"? If you really believe something you have to stand up for it and not be swayed just for the sake of casting a ballot.
     

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