Q: Do you think your vote counts?

Anyone that says voting is worthless is just cynical and proving nothing. While technically it is true that presidential elections are based on the electoral college (which is a fundamentally flawed system of rounding votes up and down), the important thing about voting is that it is a barometer for the state of the nation. It doesn’t matter that my vote is equal to someone that is a horribly-informed voter during the election. What matters is what happens on the day of the election. And almost every vote is decided before people walk into the election booth.

For example, in 2000, half of the nation wanted Gore and half wanted Bush. Why? Because most people could really care less who won. The entire election appeared as though there were really only two options, and people weren’t that enthusiastic about either of them. The Democrats wanted Gore just because he was one of them and the Republicans wanted Bush for the same reason, but the voting block that actually decides these things was more or less ambivalent. So, that set the tone for the entire election cycle. Few people on either side were capable of changing their minds and the voters that mattered flip-flopped on a daily basis. So, in the end, the vote was so close that the electoral college was used *as it was designed* to subvert the will of the people.

In 2008, things were different. No matter how much fear-mongering the Republicans did, no matter how many lies they spread about Obama’s citizenship and connections to terrorism, no matter how many times they claimed that we would become a socialist nation, the majority of the voters that mattered (the moderates) leaned in one direction. The longer the campaign became, the more obvious it was that Obama was going to win. So, in the end, the vote was not close enough for the electoral college to manipulate the outcome. No matter how much the Republicans claimed otherwise, it was clear to everyone that they lost.

As an individual in a presidential election, your vote doesn’t really matter. That much is true. For every informed voter there is an equally uninformed voter. For every Republican there is a Democrat. For every person that casts a vote based on their values, there is a person casting a vote based on their prejudices. Your vote is equal to all others, technically. But it is not your vote that ultimately matters. What matters is that you vote. A person doesn’t not elect anyone. The people do. And you are one of those people.

Though voting may seem pointless to some, it’s the discussions surrounding the election and the lead-up to it that truly matters. And considering how few people actually vote, each vote is worth far more than one. For every person that does not vote, there is someone that votes for them. And if you’re comfortable letting other people vote for you, then by all means sit at home while “they” think for you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.