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Voting Open Thread: Should I Waste My Vote?

 I read a compelling statement in Lisa’s article on an independent’s perspective on voting. In that article, Barb convinced me to seriously consider voting for my favorite choice regardless of whether he/she is the Republican or Democrat nominee.

We’ve all heard the arguments against wasting the vote before. It’s a typical ends justifies the means type argument. “If you don’t vote for either the Republican or Democrat candidate, you will have no say in the outcome of the election.

One of those two candidates WILL be elected, and your vote will have been wasted.” Granted. But let’s discuss reasons why we SHOULD waste our vote.

1. Politicians never change unless the people demand it. 

We can grumble and complain about the two candidate system as much as we want, but it will never change as long as the majority votes to influence the win rather than support their favorite candidate. If everyone votes McCain or Obama simply to stop the other candidate from winning, we have a failed system.

True, it may be a decade or two before we can change the system. But later is better than never.

You want to vote for Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul, or Mike Huckabee? Do it. You cannot control the actions of other people. But imagine if 50 million people voted solely on their conscience. How could we ignore the people forever when 25 million support Huckabee, 20 million support Paul, and 30 million support Clinton? These people have been robbed of their voice, but not by the system.

They have been robbed by their perception of the system. Someone has to start voting their conscience or the politicians will never take notice.

2. You need a clear conscience.

What they never tell you in those survival of the fittest types of scenarios is that you cannot unviolate your conscience. If you strongly disagree with the positions of a candidate and you vote for him or her, you have just empowerd that candidate to promote the very things with which you disagree.

Almost no one wants to be among the first to take a risk. They want the safe route. Who among you will “waste your vote” to support your true candidate? And since your vote will not likely prevent a certain someone from being elected any more than your vote alone would change the course of American political process, why not do the right thing anyway?

What do you have to lose, really? That is the topic of today’s open thread.

By Daniel Dessinger

Daniel founded CultureFeast in 2005, co-founded Mommypotamus in 2009, and writes frequently about self-awareness.

5 replies on “Voting Open Thread: Should I Waste My Vote?”

I wasted my vote in a sense for the Canadian election that occurred last week. With at least five possible parties to vote for, and neither of them really appealing to me, I was left with two choices: waste my vote at the polling station, or not vote at all.

There is a slurry of parties that want the Canadian population to vote for them: Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Green Party, Bloc Quebecois and the Christian Party (let’s not forget the Communist Party and the Church of the Universe, who feel that marijuana is a sacrament and promotes nudity as human equality.)

Not participating in the election was out of the question, and strangely enough, the day of the election, I heard on the radio that anyone registered to vote could protest their vote. All I had to do was tell the volunteer at the polling station that I was protesting, and I wouldn’t have to vote. My ballot would be sent to Ottawa and noted that I protested. Unfortunately, the lady at my polling station had no idea what I was talking about, but told me I could do whatever I wanted with my vote; I did just that.

Not one single party leader, I felt, could hold the job of Prime Minister. Conservatives are taking away funding for the Arts, Liberals were stricken with a buffoon for a party leader who wants to implement a carbon tax for the environment, the NDPs were making outlandish financial promises, the Green Party, well, nobody takes them seriously and I can’t vote for the Bloc because I do not live in Quebec.

Americans are lucky in a sense that only two parties ever run in an election. You have to pick one of two, not five or six. There is too much going on the Canadian political system to take one side. I agree with some points from each party, but there is no one leader that I can follow or believe in.

It is more of a waste if you don’t vote. Neither candidate are completely appetizing to me but I will pick one because I firmly believe it is our duty to participate just due to the fact we live in a county that allows us to vote.

Steve,

By “wasting my vote”, I was referring to voting for your favorite candidate regardless of whether they earned the nomination. I am not in favor of anyone not voting. Not voting only communicates apathy.

Voting for a non-traditional candidate or one that doesn’t have the spotlight, however, voices your beliefs and opinions to the nation despite the limitations of the system.

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