Why Vote?

I responded to a comment being passed by someone claiming they do not vote.

Here is the poster’s quote (as written and unedited):

Every time a dumbass asks if I’m voting, I always tell them no, because we don’t actually get to choose our next president, and even if we did, they’d both screw us over somehow so I don’t want any part of that.

All these fights, and this talk about who did what, why we shouldn’t vote for this person, and the rest of the BS you people have been throwing around the internet the last couple of months is just a waste of time and energy! I wish everyone would realize they’re not actually voting for anything, so the ones who already realize this can go back to seeing more important things in their newsfeed, like cat video’s and funny memes. :p

Here is my response:

Let’s break this apart a bit.

First, only the presidential election is decided using the Electoral College.  Every other seat in public office in this country is determined by popular voting.  So, not voting in all elections because of the Electoral College is, literally, dumb.  Don’t be that person.

Now let’s look at the Electoral College.  It was implemented by the founders (especially James Madison) as a check against a tyranny of some particular “faction” (Madison’s term).  It would allow the Electoral College to vote for a different candidate in the event the Electoral College members deemed the popular candidate dangerous, for example.  That being said, it is of much greater importance to note that most of the states have legislated the popular vote as a guide for their Electoral College votes.  In short, for most states, the vote of the people is what determines the vote of the Electoral College members for that state, thus undermining the original intention of the Electoral College. This also undermines your position that the popular vote doesn’t determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Finally, not participating in the elections does not remove you from culpability in our elected officials.  Failure to participate just gives the voices you oppose more power than they would otherwise have.  You are thus just as culpable as if you had voted against your own ideals.

You are holding up bad judgment as though it were a fine prize.  It is more accurately viewed as a badge of shame.  Fortunately, you can discard that badge and do something.  You can participate.

Of course I would encourage you to learn a little something about how our government functions before you start filling in bubbles on a ballot.  An educated electorate is vital to a functional democracy.

It is important to note that though the pledges by the Electoral College members are tied to the popular vote (by those states which do so) it may still be in the right of the Electoral College members to vote as they see fit.  This has not been tested before the courts and thus far the Electoral College has always voted according to the will of the people as represented by the votes cast in their various states.

This is a different matter from the popular vote providing a different result from that result as measured by the distribution of the Electoral College.  This disparity has occurred a small number of times and is related to the other reason we have an Electoral College, namely as a check against the famous tyranny of the majority.

In short, don’t be dumb.  Learn something and then make sure you vote.


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