Cynical Synapse

Tue, 02 Nov 2010

Not Voting is Idiocy

Filed under: Behavior, Citizen rights, Congress, Life, Michigan, Paradoxes, Patriotism, Politics, Rants, Society, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 5:45 am

Silverliner V pair

Unfortunately, significant numbers of eligible voters in the US don’t exercise their most basic right to vote. Everyone has an opinion on the weather and everyone has feelings about how they think the country is going. If you’re registered, you need to go cast your ballot. Michigan has two congressional races that are very close. If you live in the 7th or 9th districts, your vote could determine which candidate becomes your next representative.

Both major parties have efforts underway to get the vote out. Michigan Secretary of State, Terri Lynn Land, estimates about 52% of registered voters will vote> in tomorrow’s general election. Land, who is term-limited and lost a bid for Lt. Governor, thinks Michigan’s voter turnout should be higher.

This election represents a prime opportunity for voters to affect the direction of their state and local communities for the next several years. With more than 95 percent of eligible residents registered to vote here in Michigan, it’s time for those voters to speak up. I encourage everyone to make their voices heard by casting a ballot on Nov. 2.

Afghan woman shows her dyed finger after voting

Believe me, I am more cynical than most when it comes to the state of our political affairs and processes. Compare Land’s projection with Iraq’s 62% turnout for parliamentary elections in March. No presidential election, just legislators. Terrorist attacks killed 38 people who were simply trying to exercise their right to vote. On September 18th, 5.6 million Afghans risked the wrath of the Taliban to vote in parliamentary elections. Fourteen died as a result. When’s the last time anyone was killed on the way to vote in the US?

Yes, you have a right to not vote. And I am sworn to defend that right for you. But, if you don’t vote, I don’t want to hear your complaints about politicians or the direction the country is going in. Not voting shows you don’t care, according to Lonnie Allen.

Not voting is simply an ignorant act on your part. I guess wisdom is too much too hope for in a country where on average around 40 percent elect a president, but 65 percent choose who sings well.



  1. ZING! except American Idol has at most 38 million viewers based on ratings. not even close to 65%.

    Here’s what Joan Didion wrote on the subject in Political Fictions:

    Perhaps the most persistent of the fables from which the political process proceeds has to do with the “choice” it affords the nation’s citizens, who are seen to remain unappreciative. On the Saturday morning before the November 2000 presidential election, The Washington Post ran on its front page a piece by Richard Morin and Claudia Deane headlined “As Turnout Falls, Apathy Emerges as Driving Force.”

    […] Accompanying the main story were graphs, purporting to show why Americans did not vote, and the Post’s analysis of its own graphs was this: “Apathy is the single biggest reason why an estimated 100 million Americans will not vote on Tuesday.”

    The graphs themselves, however, told a somewhat more complicated story: only thirty-five percent of nonvoters, or about seventeen percent of all adult Americans, fell into the “apathetic” cateogy, which . . . included those who “have no sense of civic duty,” “aren’t interested in politics,” and “have no committment in keeping up with public affairs.” Another fourteen percent of nonvoters were classified as “disconnected,” a group including both those “who can’t get to the polls because of advanced age or disability” and those “who recently changed addresses and are not yet registered”–in other words, people functionally unable to vote. The remaining fifty-one percent of these nonvoters, meaning roughtly a quarter of all adult Americans, were classified as either “alienated” (“the angry men and women of U.S. politics . . . so disgusted with politicians and the political process that they’ve opted out”) or “disenchated” (these nonvoters aren’t so much repelled by politics as they are by the way politics is practiced”), in either case, pretty much the polar opposite of “apathetic.” According to the graphs, more than seventy percent of all nonvoters were in fact registered, a figure that cast some ambiguity on the degree of “apathy” even among the thirty-five percent categorized as “apathetic.”

    Comment by Montag — Tue, 02 Nov 2010 @ 3:41 pm

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