For Those Who Do Not Vote: Don’t Feel Guilty

As election season heats up and early votes have been casted, voters will inevitably share selfies with those little “I voted” stickers.

In many cases, I see posts from those who share they voted urging others to exercise their right to do so. Some of them even urge you to vote for the “right candidate,” whatever that means. They show public support for the one they hope wins. Good for you. You voted. You’re backing your candidate. I can get on board with that.

For those who choose not to vote, it’s ok. Don’t ever feel guilty about that, ever.

A right does not mean it’s a requirement. I know people who don’t vote for a number of reasons. Some don’t because they don’t feel like they are informed enough, mainly because they don’t understand politics. I know people who hate politics in general and don’t care about getting involved with it.

Having worked for a popular gym in a small parish of south Louisiana, people used to love showing up wearing their stickers. Some would even ask if I voted. Honestly, that is none of their business. But it would happen. I would deflect or give them a yes just to get them to go away.

I am a pretty open book when it comes to politics, but it wasn’t my own business that I worked for and I wasn’t about to shit where I ate. My opinions were very much different from those who worked out there. In fact, my opinions differ from many people down here.

There is sense of pressure to vote because “every vote matters.” To a certain degree, I understand that. On the other hand, I don’t.

For those who don’t vote or feel they can’t make an informed decision, good for you. I truly respect you for that. You’re admitting you’re not confident enough to make an informed decision of punching a ballot. I wish more people had that mindset.

For those who say that people should be informed and the information is available, yes it is. Yet we still have people walk in thinking they have the right information and don’t.

If a person exercising their right to vote walks in blindly regardless of who they are voting for, are you more ok with that than someone electing not to?

Scroll through your facebook of “I voted” people, some of them share memes or graphics of false information. But because it is on the internet it must be true.

Politics can be a confusing mess if you don’t keep up. There are areas of politics I choose not to talk about with people because I am just not informed on certain issues. I will gladly listen and do my due diligence after. However, I won’t put my foot in my mouth about issues or speak just to hear myself talk if I am not informed on the topic at hand.

That being said, I have a confession to make. I didn’t register to vote until September of 2018. I was 27 years old when I registered to vote.

In high school and heading into college, I was very much anti establishment and didn’t care enough about politics to vote. So I never registered.

As I got older, I began actually taking an interest in politics. Even though I felt informed enough, I didn’t register because I always thought there was no point. Even if I do my due diligence of research, there are many people who won’t. As much as I would love to believe just one vote counts, that is nothing more than propaganda.

Too many people walk in and punch the ballot based on party and/or who their friends or family vote for. I don’t like the idea of just being able to walk in and do that when we are choosing those in charge of our cities, states and country.

Immigrants must pass a test to gain citizenship. Military hopefuls must pass a test before moving forward in the process. We have to take a test before being able to get behind the wheel of a car. Yet, we just allow anyone to go punch a ballot for our future. I don’t like that.

I would like to point out that being informed doesn’t mean you agree with me or my stances. I know plenty of informed people who think nothing like me. I love talking to people who don’t think like me, as long as they have facts combined with reasoning to back up their beliefs. If they don’t, I challenge them to defend their belief. I expect the same return.

I don’t agree with anyone who blindly punches a ballot, no matter who or what they are voting for, even if it were to benefit me.

Personally, I wish there was some sort of assessment prior to the polls unlocking. It could be a 10 question quiz containing bills voted for by the candidates running, basic history knowledge including amendments or anything relevant to that particular election. If you can’t obtain a score of 60 or better, then it locks and on to the next one.

I would much rather quality of vote over quantity. I believe it would entice people to do more research.

Of course an issue with this way of thinking is what does that do for those who don’t have the educational resources that I have? That is a fair question because I understand many don’t have the same resources I have. I pose the question, how many do and don’t use them anyway?

That being said, typically those living in inner cities (most ignored) are not voting regardless. In fact, inner cities carry 5-15 percent lower voting rates. If the inner cities voted, it would favor democrats more heavily. Much like if the nation were to go strictly to popular vote for presidential elections, we wouldn’t be living in a two party system. The democrats would win most elections with flying colors thanks to states like California and New York.

Even though I tend to lean more left than right, it would eliminate the idea of checks and balances. That wouldn’t be good either.

That being said, let’s talk about the two party system. It skews how we feel about elections. If you run as an independent, chances are that you’re dead in the water. How many people have you heard say things like, “A vote for third party is a wasted vote” or “A vote for third party is a vote for Hilary/Trump?” I know I hear it far too often.

Imagine living in a society that actually took non democrat/republican candidates seriously. All bets would be off. But we don’t. We never will. I know plenty of people who voted in the last election for Trump or Hilary though they “didn’t like” either candidate. So then why the hell would you vote for them? Because our system says you have to.

That alone is a fundamental problem.

Although I don’t necessarily think the system is broken because what system wouldn’t be? There is no such thing as full proof laws just like there is no such thing as a full proof voting process.

I just hate the idea that anyone can walk into voting booth and blindly vote without due diligence. If it is so important and that big of a decision, why don’t more people take it as such?

For those of you who choose not to vote and people tell you that you should take it seriously, don’t listen. As a society, many who vote don’t take it as serious as they like to believe. But, they would never think to tell those people their opinion doesn’t matter because they did their “American duty” and voted.

 

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