Protest Votes vs Non-Votes

There are plenty of reasons to vote. The arguments against voting are many and Hank Green did a wonderful job of counterpointing them in this video.  This blog was going to be a video but after watching this one again he made the larger points well.

Hank Green on Voting

What I do want to address in this blog are those people who are planning on not voting in protest or because of their dissolution with the current state of politics.

What ever your reasoning, you can effect more change by voting than by not voting and here is why.

The reason is based in 2 simple truths. 1st votes are counted and 2nd perception changes opinion.

Let’s say that 10 percent of the public falls into the category of dissolution or protest non votes. If they do not vote neither the media nor politicians will recognize that “non vote” as such. It will only effect what is reported as turnout. Not voting is interpreted as not caring. As a group, media will not give it attention. The concerns of a non voting group will not be filled by politicians. Political clout and money will not be spent. Change that you want in or outside the system will not be helped.

Now let say that 10% does vote but not for the major parties. The election changes from a 50 to 49 race to 45 to 44 race. Those votes are counted, tabulated, put into the figures. Some reporter somewhere will ask where that 10% went to. The politicians have to pay attention because those votes will try to be won. That group becomes a squeaky wheel and will get some grease.

Even if it is a vote for “none of the above” it is still a vote that appears on the record. It is recorded as evidence that this person is engaged enough to express his opinion.

You may be asking “10%? Really Toby?”  There are not that many people out there that fall in this category.” Yes there is and it can and has made a difference.  I will use the local story of former pro-wrestler Jessie “The Body” Ventura.

Jessie ran for governor of Minnesota in ’98 On his name alone they started putting his name into polls. (We need to pressure the inclusion of 3rd party candidates in polls). He was getting 10 -15%. The other 2 running decided to let him into the debates. (We need to pressure for 3rd party candidates to get into debates). After the debates he ran 20-25% in polls. On Election Day the turnout beat estimates by 10% and Jessie won with 37% of the vote.

If you want to make changes the first step is showing up. Vote. Stand up for what you believe in. Vote. Challenge the system from all sides. Vote.  Do not let yourself be ignored. Vote.

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