Tuesday, November 2, 2010



Another guest post by Dana


Today, I am NOT doing something that I haven't NOT done in quite some time (How's that for a triple negative?). I am NOT going to vote.

This is a BIG deal for me. I feel voting is a civic responsibility - a right we are given that we are obligated to carry out - and I am NOT going to do it.


Call it cynicism. Call it a personal protest. Call it being irresponsible. I really don't care. I am FED UP with politics, politicians and people.

I have read quite a few disturbing blog posts, comments and tweets where people seem to think the process of voting - of walking into the polling place and pushing a button - is what is important. They brag that they intend to "piss off" the other party - that they would NEVER consider a candidate from the other party. They see elections as some freakish opportunity to "stick it" to people who may think differently than they do.

That is NOT what voting should be about.

Honestly? I think there should be some sort of pretest for voting. A set of questions that you must answer 70% correctly in order to move on to the actual voting process. I'd even be willing to go multiple choice.

The questions wouldn't have to be difficult. Here in Illinois they could ask things like "Name three of the six candidates for U.S. Senator" or "What elected office would be impacted by the proposed Illinois Constitutional Amendment?"

Hell, they could even do a fill-in-the-blank test giving you the names of 10 candidates that you must identify as R, D or neither R nor D.

In Illinois I am saddled with impossible choices - voting for the people I think might be the least corrupt (which isn't saying a whole hell of a lot).

Quite frankly, I don't like any of the "viable" (i.e. Republican or Democrat)
candidates - my vote would likely be along party lines because everyone sucks equally - and I take huge issue with ANYONE (including me) voting party lines just because they don't want the other side to win.

Get a grip people. Voting should NOT be about showing up at your polling place and getting an "I voted" sticker so you can take a picture of it and post it on twitter. It should NOT be about looking at a ballot, shrugging your shoulders and pushing the button for R or D rather than for the candidate and their platform.

I am NOT voting today. Are you?

*EDIT* After much thought, and a little prodding, I decided to vote on the SINGLE "non-candidate" issue on my ballot - an Amendment to the Illinois Constitution. There was a LONG line at the polling place with a 45 minute wait. I watched at least 10 people look at the line, then turn around and walk out.



Sedorah said...

"Politicians only have power because we as a people give it to them through our collective consent." - Russell Page

I vote because I don't take my ability to vote for granted. People in other countries have fought and died to have this right. I vote so I have the right to complain about government decisions that I don't like. And if voter turnout is low, then we could end up with government that doesn't necessarily represent the views of the majority of the governed.

I can understand and appreciate your cynicism Dana, but voting is important, even if the candidates suck (believe me, I know). There is always the write-in thing you can do if you can't stand any of them.

Karen said...

I am absolutely voting. I think you surrender your right to complain if you don't participate.

Apple said...

I'm not, basically for the same reasons you stated. However, I do agree with Karen. I will not be complaining.

Travis Cody said...

I am voting because it is my right and my duty and I take it seriously. There is more to my ballot than electing people to office. There are initiatives and propositions that are important to my community.

It's not just about who we elect to office. It's about trying to do the best we can with our rights and responsibilities.

I understand why you think the best you can do is set that right aside today. But I can't. My small voice is going out with my vote. And I'll follow it up with my letters to my elected representatives, regardless of which party affiliation they prefer.

I will hold my elected officials responsible for the decisions they make in my name, and I will do so with my vote and with my words.

Clay Perry said...

too many people died to allow me the right to vote, so i must.

Dana said...

Sedorah, I don't take my ability to vote for granted either and - quite frankly - I don't believe there is a snowball's chance in hell that we will see a government that represents the views of the majority no matter what the turnout. And a write in vote? That would be little more than a vote against someone else, not a vote for anyone.

Karen, you know, I'm OK with that consequence!

Apple, I am actually reconsidering my abstinence from voting - but my vote will likely be limited to the proposed Illinois Constitutional Amendment. Not sure I can let that one slide without a vote.

Matt-Man said...

Now wait just a minute...

You state that it is bad to vote along party lines and yet want a proposed pre-test (with which I disagree) to include people being able to name party affiliation of candidates. Those two things run at cross-purposes.

I say that ballots should NOT have party affiliation denoted whatsoever.

As for those who say that if one doesn't vote than they have no right to complain, they have it ass backwards.

As George Carlin said long ago...

"I every right to complain if I didn't vote, because I wasn't one of those who helped to put those bastards into office."

With that being said...I shall vote today.

Cheers Dana!!

Dana said...

Travis Cody, I take voting EXTREMELY seriously, and as such am choosing to NOT mock the seriousness of it with candidates who are less than qualified to represent my views.

Clay Perry, I used to judge those who didn't vote, using the same argument as you. Now? I can see the other side.

Mike said...

I'm voting. There are a bunch of propositions on our ballot that need to have my vote.

In New Scientist a while back they had an article about an actual fair voting system. I'll try and find it.

Jay said...

Our ballot was 8 pages. There were some races I left blank because I had no strong feeling either way. I voted in one race specifically to vote against someone. I feel quite strongly voting in specific races simply to vote AGAINST someone is perfectly acceptable and even the right thing to do sometimes.

There were both local and state issues on the ballot that I wanted to either vote for or against also.

Take a test to vote? Well aren't we the typical "I'm so much smarter than you elitist?" ;-)

Dana said...

Matt-Man, soooo ... you believe uninformed voters are good voters? And I'm going with the George Carlin thing!

Mike, I was actually discussing the voting process with NORM this morning - specifically wondering how the order of candidates on the ballot is decided and if that order is randomized throughout all voting precincts. It really should be.

Jay, Pfffftttt! It's not about smarted, it's about being informed, and today? I would FAIL any kind of basic knowledge on the issues/candidates test - so there!

Grant said...

The problem with abstaining is that it's indistinguishable from voter apathy unless you also picket and/or assassinate some candidates. I recommend sending a clear message by writing in Dave Barry. Working together, we can get him elected to every post held in the US.

Raquel's World said...

I agree with Karen.

And shall I remind you of your recent "do something" post?

Knight said...

with revisions...

Some races I will leave blank because I have no strong feeling either way. I voted in (more than) one race specifically to vote against someone. I feel quite strongly voting in specific races simply to vote AGAINST someone is perfectly acceptable and even the right thing to do sometimes.

Thanks Jay.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Sorry, I disagree with you and with the person who said that you now have no right to complain about the candidates that win and any initiatives which were passed.

Voting is not a right...it is an obligation to keep our country moving forward. Your not voting actually surprises me Dana...

Dana said...

Grant, Ahhhh ... but *I* know that it isn't voter apathy, and that is all that matters! Besides, assassination carries a hefty prison term.

Raquel, Ha! What's funny is that my reason for NOT voting was so as not to look like a hypocrite for chastising you for voting along party lines to spite the other party!

Dana said...

Knight, I think we - as citizens of this country - DESERVE viable candidates that don't require a vote against someone. said...

Vinny "Bond" Marini, how is my vote moving the country forward if none of the candidates are moving the country forward? I think what many of you are missing is that my exercising my right NOT to vote is every bit as real and valid as you exercising your right TO vote.

My vote is too valuable to give to the likes of Pat Quinn or Bill Brady. They don't DESERVE it!

Knight said...

I agree that we deserve viable candidates. Know any that want to run? I'll write their name in. Not voting isn't going to put decent people in office. We have to be proactive. So what should we do?

Mike Golch said...

by not voteing that the current ashats win.

Dana said...

Knight, voting for "bad" candidates is not going to put decent people in office either.

Politics needs a shake-up of some sort, and I'm not sure how we are going to make that happen. I am doing what *I* think is best - being proactive if you will - to get those in power to notice they don't represent me.

Dana said...

Mike Golch, I'm confused. Incumbents (which are few and far between in my voting district) don't get some special pass if voting turnout is low.

Hubman said...

Your concerns are exactly why I'd love to see a "No Confidence" choice, whether someone is running unopposed or not. They both suck, I wanna be able to send them that message loud and clear!

J.J. in L.A. said...

Here in CA, no matter who becomes the Governor, it's gonna piss off a lot of people because neither (D or R) candidate is ideal.