Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Why I'm Not Voting

I had a discussion with a friend today who is preparing himself to vote in the November midterm elections. I applaud his vote. He’s a smart guy and will inform himself of the candidates and make a vote that makes sense. Even if I might disagree with who he picked. He’s the kind of guy I want voting.

But I won’t vote. Here are my reasons:
  1. I think that being an informed voter is important. I think that being an ignorant voter is destructive. If you're not going to be informed, you can either vote randomly, which seems silly, or you end up voting your biases. Bryan Caplan has written a book called, “The Myth of the Rational Voter”. In it he documents how destructive it is to vote on bias alone.

  2. The benefits of voting are really quite minimal
    1. A sense of having performed a civic duty
    2. An infinitesimally small chance of influencing the results – put another way, odds are *incredibly* high that my vote won’t impact what happens in the election.

  3. The effort to become an informed voter is high. I really don’t know who the candidates are. I *am* an ignorant voter. I could become informed, but at what cost? Studying candidates requires time. Time that I’d rather use for:
    1. Being a better husband & father
    2. Being a better employee
    3. Studying economics – something that sharpens my mind
    4. Time contemplating God and his will for me
    5. Watching my favorite sports teams – something that may be of less social value than voting, but of much more personal value to me.
    6. Hanging out with friends. Ironically, some of whom will discuss politics.
In short, I’m an ignorant voter because I have better uses for my time than to study candidates and wait in line to cast a vote that will have almost no influence on the outcome and give me an “I voted” sticker. Moreover, I believe strongly that voting ignorantly is socially destructive and I won’t do it.

So enjoy your votes everyone… but please only vote if you’re informed.