To Vote or Not to Vote
Posted by PintofStout on October 20, 2006
The election season has sprung upon us like a cat on a helpless milk jug ring thingy. The unbearable political ads are clogging the airwaves of television and radio and only promise to get worse. In this atmosphere of pain, Murphy’s Bye-Laws is here to provide a moment of clarity just before the pain killers set in to make everything warm and fuzzy. Over the next two weeks or so, we will be posting about non-voting, voting, and the dirtiness you may feel afterwards. All posts relevant to voting will be found under the “Voting” category for easy access. Perhaps you’ll find these thoughts more useful than actually voting.
For conscientious non-voters, such as me, the election season is nothing more than an annoyance and a reminder of why we don’t vote in the first place. The main reason usually lies in consent. If the government can only exist by the consent of the governed, then for an anarchist the decision is easy. By voting and participation in the system, it can be implied – wrongly (scroll down to Consent and the Constitution) – that we are then consenting to the outcome. The reason for this is similar to monopolies because many vote in self-defense and thus under coercion. Still, I choose not to participate because I refuse to lend an appearance of legitimacy to the whole corrupt institution.
When stating my views to interested parties, I often get told, “Well, by not voting you’re not helping to change anything.” My response from now on will be, “By voting you’re not really helping to change anything either.” Non-participation may be useless and unpragmatic as a tactic, but, honestly, so is voting. At least by not participating, I have the opportunity to spend my time in a productive manner if I so choose.
The absence of utility in the act of voting may not be immediately apparent to some. Really, the voter feels some connection to the outcome just by the very act of traveling to the polling location; maybe chatting it up with some poll workers or others in the community there to vote (sense of community: perhaps the only good thing to come of voting); going through all the official-looking motions of signing in and whatever else they do; standing alone behind a curtain like a peep show (maybe this is where the dirty feelings came from); and committing the act of actually touching a screen, pulling a lever, punching a chad, or what have you. I also know that we’ve been led to believe every vote counts. If this is true (not a chance in hell) then surely vote tampering and fraud can make it count twice or three times or whatever is convenient or necessary. Vote fraud has been around as long as voting itself and technology makes no difference. So is voting actually changing anything more than not voting?
An excellent archive, second to none, of non-voting essays can be found at http://www.strike-the-root.com/vote.html.