Not Voting Doubles the Value of Someone Else’s Vote

from kottke

In his Rolling Stone article on John McCain’s failed campaign for the 2000 Republican nomination for President, David Foster Wallace wrote about how not voting is like shooting yourself in the foot.

If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

Please check your registration status and register to vote… it takes two minutes. Voter registration deadlines are fast approaching in many US states — there are deadlines tomorrow in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. If you don’t see your state in that list, don’t assume you have all the time in the world…check your status and register to vote anyway.

See also Dear Young People: “Don’t Vote”. (via nitch)

More here.

Posted in Leadership and tagged , , .


  1. I believe that this article, though barely three paragraphs long, is very influential and important in today’s society. Our most recent presidential election changed voting habits drastically. Some eligible voters chose to abstain from voting in this election due to not truly favoring either candidate. Contrarily, some voters who haven’t voted in years came out because they felt very strongly for one side. This was not predicted and, as a result, people were surprised by voting turnouts. This article by Kottke discusses a basic mathematical principle – If you remove a value from a result, the proportion changes.

    David Foster Wallace discussed how not voting is comparable to shooting yourself in the foot. This analogy reinforces the principle I stated before. If you have 10 expected voters, but only 8 show up, those 2 that didn’t could have swayed the vote one way or another. Wallace’s argument is that the goal of certain political standpoints are to make the citizen feel detached, cynical, or uninterested. The most influential statement with this article is that not voting is still a vote, it’s still a stance. Not voting grants power to a side that may not have won it’s election prior. Voting is a right that many countries do not allow it’s citizens, and therefore it should not be taken for granted.

  2. After reading the article “Not Voting Doubles the Value of Someone Else’s Vote” by kottke, I can be sure that many adults will still vote in the upcoming midterm elections. Kottke is one hundred percent correct when stating that “you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” If one votes, one actually ends up siding with a party, but if one does not vote, then he or she allows for someone else’s vote to have more value since there is less participation involved from the population. This article reminds me of a class discussion I once had back in my high school, in which the teacher asked who was in favor of Donald J. Trump and who was in favor for Hillary Clinton. Out of the whole class, only I was in favor of Donald J. Trump becoming President of the United States of America and the other 29 students wanted Hillary Clinton. When it came time to vote, only I voted out of everyone in my class. This made the probability of 29-1 change to my favor in which the probability was now 1-0. That election made me realize how important going out to vote meant to the future of a country. If everyone else in my class would have gone out and voted, and many others throughout the country, then maybe the electoral vote would have been in favor of Hillary Clinton. That presidential election was a great learning experience for the country as a whole, but yet I feel like the majority of those who did not vote will continue to not vote. Those who did not vote either still believe that their vote is useless or they just simply do not want to have the responsibility of saying they voted for a bad candidate. Those who do not vote, do not realize that if they do not vote, then someone else will vote for the ideology that they believe in, and it can possibly be an ideology that goes against your beliefs. Even for those who say that both candidates were terrible, at least leaned in favor of one over the other. For those that read this through, I hope that you all go out and vote this upcoming midterm elections, because it can either help the Trump administration out or run it to the ground.

  3. I completely agree that voting is important and that you should not waist your vote. I have already wasted one vote (I am 19 years old) because I had to work on Election Day last year and could not make it to the polls. However, me not voting was not out of spite or my in regards to my feelings about the candidates. It is true that not voting gives someone else more voting power, because every person who does not vote increases the value of every other vote by default. The less the votes, the more each one counts. A perfect example of this was in our 2016 Presidential election. Hillary Supporters were in a vast majority during campaign season however, she had a poor showing for the polls because people assumed Hillary was going to win by a landslide so there was no point in them voting. Unfortunately, everyone ended up thinking this and all those people who supported Hillary did not end up voting at all. This truly shows that every vote matters and should be used. It does not cost you anything to vote and unless you completely oppose the US election system I do not see why you would not vote. So please, this November if you are thinking about not voting, at least vote so that someone else cannot take advantage of your unused vote.

  4. This was a very interesting read, and one that really does state the facts as to what happens when you do not vote. There are two types of people in the world, the people that vote and the people that stay home and do not vote for whatever reason. When you vote, you get your voice heard as to whom you want to be leading in whatever election you are participating in. When you do not vote you do not get your voice heard and consequently should have no complaints about what is going on in politics because you are not doing your part to change things up. I always knew that not voting is bad for many reasons but I never thought about it the way that David Foster Wallace puts it, “In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote”. This is a really interesting way to put it, but by not voting you really are allowing someone else’s vote gain even more value. I always use the example of, think if a majority of people thought well it is just one vote it cannot really make that much of a difference, but in reality it does make a difference. Truly one vote will most likely not make a difference in elections, but it will make a difference when those one votes turn into the majority of people thinking that way. Imagine if one day there was an election that took place somewhere, where only about ten percent of people that could vote did vote. Not only would the majority of people not get their voice heard but the minority would win and in some cases that could be really bad. Anyone that is old enough and capable enough needs to get out and vote to make sure that their opinion is heard. When someone wins an election, it is best when a lot of people vote because then the person that should get in office will get in office because the majority will be heard. Voting is an easy process and does not take that much effort, just make sure you get out there and vote instead of sitting on the couch watching TV because every vote truly does matter.

  5. It can be argued that one of the most significant rights that an American citizen is granted is the right to vote. To say that one is an active and contributing citizen is partly completed by participating in their civic duty. Many Americans will fight and speak out for their other rights such as freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to equal justice. However, Americans not only take for granted the right to vote but disregard the importance behind a task that can be completed in a matter of minutes. The United States holds the reputation of having a low voter turnout, which is disgraceful because this country is known to be the “Free World.” If the citizens of the United States cannot understand and comprehend all the advancements and privileges we have over other countries, citizens need to reevaluate what is going on within the country and beyond.
    On the sixth of November, the Midterm elections will be taking place. For this year, all the seats for the House of Representatives will be up for new takings as well as thirty-five seats from the Senate. As of right now, all of Congress is a Republican majority which means if the Democratic Party wishes to regain majority power, they need to obtain two seats in the Senate. Taking that into consideration, the percentage of the United States population that decides to not participate in the midterm elections will be missing out on the opportunity to change who is having the power to make our laws and set standards. According to this article, there is a quote from David Foster Wallace where he states, “If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties,…” There are many citizens that would agree with Mr. Wallace in that they are frustrated by politics and how the government is performing. However, out of those who are feeling this way, there is a good chance that not all of them are going out to vote due to them feeling there vote does not count.
    The title of this article, “Not Voting Double the Value of Someone Else’s Vote,” presents a very intriguing point and can be furthered explored. If we take the 2016 Presidential Election, for instance, there was a huge amount of controversy about voter turnout and silent voters. Many people during this election felt as though they were choosing not based on who was the better candidate but rather choosing who less badly off for the country. Furthermore, some of the voters felt as though they could not pick, so in place of voting, they decided not to. Like the article, the title says though, by not voting, that in place results in giving more power to someone who did go out to vote. This is due to the ones that do go vote having their say in the result, unlike someone do chooses not to vote. The citizens who decide it is best to not carry out their civic duty are in turn voting for whoever the winner turns out to be due to the fact that they took away their own ability to vote for a different candidate.
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated that “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they do this is by not voting.” It is very important for all Americans to understand and appreciate the right to vote because it is the only way to get representation in our type of government. Those who do not vote are not only hurting themselves, but it is not giving the full picture of the needs and wants of the American people. Therefore, it is crucial that everyone goes and votes in all elections and stay up to date on when they are taking place.

  6. Many people have a negative opinion on voting and to be quite honest at one point I had similar beliefs. Young voters have tended to become more jaded towards politics and voting in particular seeing politicians as untrustworthy among other things. However, the importance of voting is still undeniable. The small article doesn’t have too much writing in it but it still says a lot. If a non vote doubles the value of someone else’s then that proves that doing nothing is way worse than choosing who you think is right. I had always figured that not voting had some sort of impact but I never really thought it would be so detrimental. It makes sense why many public figures urge people to research and vote for somebody even if the main candidates haven’t drawn interest.
    While knowing how a non vote can effect other votes I still believe that there has to be a genuine effort put in to make politics more appealing. Honestly, I don’t see too much change happening despite this information. The article alluded to that being the intent of some political figures but if that keeps up it could be very dangerous. I’m not quite sure how it will be done but more people have to understand the responsibility of voting and not look it as a bunch of politicians on television.

  7. To first understand why this happens you must first understand what voting is and what happens during an election. The election is really called an indirect election. Technically, you as a citizen do not vote directly for the President and Vice President. You vote to influence electors in your state that in turn cast votes for the President and Vice President. The number of electors in each state is equal to the total number of Senators and Representatives in Congress from that state. The only exception is D.C., which was granted a few electors. Technically electors are free to vote for anyone they like but in practice abide them by the wishes of the voters in their state. This does not mean that your vote does not count though. This is even more reason on why you need to go out and vote.
    “In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” This was the most impactful part of this article’s argument. When we chose to not vote we double someone else’s. How is this possible? It is because if you do not vote that is one less vote against there is and theoretically, turns there vote into two now.
    As I have commented in another post that voting is right and that, we should exercise it. If we are not going to I why to live in a democracy. The theory that our votes do not mean anything is a way for others to trick us into getting what they want to see elected to get the position. The only way for you to see the change that you want is to vote and to get others to vote with you as well. By you sitting at home on Election Day you are giving up your freedom and we constantly are disappointed by the outcomes of elections. When I turned eighteen it was during an election year and the first thing I did was made sure I registered to vote. I am an American and I will always express my right to freedom and so should everyone else.

  8. RE: Not Voting Doubles the Value of Someone Else’s Vote

    While the basis of Jason Kottke’s article is of current relevance, the articles he refers to for the purpose of backing up his argument are not. It is true that by not voting, your candidates of choice are each receiving one less vote and at minimum your vote has the potential to negate one vote for each of their opponents. Therefore, any person of voting age who has done his or her due diligence in researching the backgrounds and views of each candidate ought to vote if after doing so he or she has developed opinions based upon these findings. However, I do not believe that a person should vote if adequate effort was not put into gathering information prior to doing so.

    Kottke selected a quote from David Foster Wallace on John McCain: ‘The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and the Shrub’, originally appearing in the April 13, 2000 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. In the article, Wallace explains how the group of young voters at the time, which he defines as persons between the ages of 18 and 35, were more fed up by politicians than ever and less likely to vote because of it. Attitudes have changed quite a bit in the eighteen years since this article was written. I feel as though I can provide a unique perspective on this because I belonged to that group of young voters in 2000. The first election I voted in was in 1996, and as uninformed as I was at that age I selected one party all the way down the ballot. That political party had a way of reaching youth who were barely out of their parents’ homes and making them feel as though their best interests were top priority. Looking back on it, I did not do any research. Instead, I voted based upon familiarity and whoever reached me first. It was years before I voted again. As a young adult, voting only occurred every four years in my mind. By the time Rolling Stone published the article in 2000, the bits and pieces of information I had seen on the television or read online had soured me towards all politicians. Information online was likely much more reliable in the year 2000 than it is today, but I did not bother to do my homework on any of the candidates. Had I further educated myself on current issues and what stance each candidate took on them, I would have felt more motivated to vote. In many ways, it is a good thing that I did not vote.

    Dear Young People: “Don’t Vote”, also written by Jason Kottke and linked to his piece on the effects of not voting, provokes the question of whether certain groups of people, including young adults, are being discouraged to vote or not. There is no solid argument to back up the statement being made in this article. Kottke states, “The old white people of America have a message for the young adults of America: we’ll be dead soon but if you don’t vote, you’re letting us determine what kind of world you’ll live in.” He goes on to make generalized statements indicating that old, white people are all rich and greedy, that they feel as though climate change is not their problem, and that they don’t care about school shootings because they haven’t been to school in years. If anything, reading something like this might have the effect of discouraging young people or minorities from voting by making them feel powerless. Kottke provides a visual representation of voter participation rates by age group between 1980 and 2016. It appears relatively consistent over the years, with participation rates increasing with age. I attribute this to the knowledge that people gain over the years. As a person becomes more mature, he or she realizes the importance of voting. Life is also a continuous learning process, and the more that a person sees, the more that he or she can develop opinions relating to what is best for the Country. Additionally, older generations care a great deal about the wellbeing of future generations. I have yet to meet a parent who does not fear for his or her child’s future, or a grandparent who does not worry what his or her grandchildren will be left with.

    Perhaps there are many who do not want young adults to vote. I do not want a person to vote who is not well informed. Social media is not a good source of reliable information. The news is mostly biased towards one party or the other, depending on which station you choose to view. A good start is to look for information that was written prior to each candidate’s campaign. Reading their biographies and understanding their stances on certain issues as well as their obligations to their political parties is essential. Finally, voting for a candidate based solely on gender, race, or political affiliation is as good as showing up at the polls without doing your research. If you have done your research, please use the link to within Kottke’s article.

  9. I think that voting is a huge gift we are given as citizens of the United States. Fighting for our rights is one thing, but having the option to actually make changes is a huge deal. Many people choose to not get involved in voting simply because they don’t think it will affect them in the long run or they just do not care. In turn, however, it will affect them in some way or another. Being involved in politics not only allows you to learn but will help you to understand the way our world works even better. I only believe, however, that you should vote if you know a decent amount of knowledge about politics. If you are completely uneducated in that field. Most young adults do not know anything about politics and are shielded away from some parts because their minds are still developing. I think that the voting age should be significantly raised because older people have more experience and understand better.

  10. Personally, I know a lot of people that haven’t voted in past elections because they “didn’t like either major-party candidate” or they “don’t follow politics” therefore they automatically assume it’s not their problem. Fact of the matter is, it is their problem and there are other candidates that consider themselves independents. As stated in the article, by not voting, you double down somebody else’s vote. And I’d hate to say it but you don’t know what psycho other people are supporting.

    In elections, every vote matters. This was especially true in our most recent election, the 2016 election for the presidency.

    As a citizen of the United States, it’s our duty to make sure the best available candidate is voted into office. It is our duty to vote somebody into any office that will push to protect our democracy and put the publics best interest before anything else. Who we vote into office (or end up with sometimes) can change the course of the United States. This is why we NEED to vote. Do your research, make your decision, register to vote, and go out there on election/primary day and vote.

  11. Even though this article is very short, it does say a lot. There is much debate nowadays about voting, and its importance. There are countless social media advertisements now that are encouraging people to vote. However, there are still people who choose not to vote. I am one of those people. Personally, I choose not to vote, if I do not agree with any of the candidates. I have voted before, however, it was done under the pressure of the people around me. My votes were not what I truly wanted. Voting is so much pressure now, and there is no right answer. If I vote I choose to keep how I voted private. This is due to the fact that I have been scrutinized for how I voted in the past before. My best friend told me that I was uneducated. That really hurt due to the fact that I took a lot of time research and trying to determine who was the best candidate to vote for.
    People need to do their research before they vote, but it is hard to distinguish what is the truth and what is not. Lots of multimedia now voice their opinion and it is hard to know if you are getting a biased information. That is part of the reason why I do not vote. I do not believe that everyone is getting all of the information that is needed. The whole idea of voting is not for me. By not voting I am saying that I do not believe in either candidate or party. It is my right to vote, and I can choose to use it or not.

  12. Although this article may be short, I believe it has a strong point that would remain unchanged by a longer article. Especially because of the divisive and controversial political divide in the modern world, voting to represent one of these sides or parties will have greater impact rather than neglecting to vote because you don’t want to, don’t like any of the candidates, or feel it is a burden. While unsure of the actual supporting statistics for this idea, I feel that if you don’t vote than you are giving more power to those who do vote. While it may seem like your vote doesn’t make that much of an impact it does because you adding to the number of individual voices who are agreeing with a specific side. Voting is definitely important and shouldn’t be underplayed by any statistics or opinions.

  13. This article reminded me of a quote that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that truly matter.” After reading this article and doing the TID assignment on the Supreme Court I have truly begun to understand what this means. As an 18-year-old, I had no idea, even a month ago, the importance of voting and taking part in our democracy. I felt I couldn’t be bothered to register and that my vote did not really matter. But now, after taking the time to inform myself I’ve come to realize this isn’t true. This article touches on the importance of voting very well and I think he sums it up, “In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” This exact reason is why I have been nagging my friends and family to register to vote for the upcoming elections. As the youth of America who can do anything from our phones, we do not do much. Quite honestly, it is true what a lot of people say, we do complain. The “Don’t Vote” video really spoke to this idea well. Sadly, my generation and generations a bit older than me are primarily whiners. We’ll repost a million and a half tweets about the issues at hand, but we won’t take it upon ourselves to do something, I know because that was me a month ago! Even the fact that the only reason I really took it upon myself was because I was forced to, speaks to that. Just like they said in the video, it is our duty to secure a future we want. It will not matter to a lot of the older generations what will happen in fourty years, but it will matter to us.
    Articles and videos like these have become more and more pungent to me and I find that, at least, a bit comforting. Hopefully, if I am becoming informed and registering my peers are doing the same. I will continue to nag those around me to let their voice be heard, especially in this day and age.

  14. This article is short and to the point, which is exactly how the issue of young people voting should be. As a 19-year-old with a late birthday, I missed voting in the 2016 presidential election alongside my friends, family members, and community. I am excited to be able to vote in the upcoming Midterm elections. I believe that as soon as you turn 18 and gain the right to vote, it is your obligation to use it. Many people have fought for our rights to vote and it is a disservice to them when that right is not used. I understand that many young people feel that they cannot vote either because they do not know enough about candidates or they feel that there are “no good options” to choose from. These excuses only double the value of someone else’s vote, as stated in the article. I can relate to this because before I turned 18 I was a part of the group of young people who thought that they did not know enough about politics, therefore they did not need to vote. My personal excuse stemmed from not having a true passion about politics and deciding that putting in extra work to evaluate candidates in order to make an informed decision was a waste of time. After a few years of maturing and several government and politics courses, I understand why that mindset was not beneficial. I am in no way a political expert, but I do understand where to get information to make an informed decision and how to appreciate the true value of voting. I really enjoyed this quote from the article regarding the mindset mentioned above: “In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.”

    The hyperlink provided at the bottom of this article brought up another important perspective on why young people (age 18-29, according to the statistics provided) should be voting. Based on statistics, the older population is voting at a 25% higher rate than the younger population. I agree with the hyperlinked article that if this gap between the older and younger generations continues, we are essentially letting the older population chose the type of government and world we are going to live in. The YouTube video highlights just how big the gap between older generation interests and younger generation interests are. Unfortunately, as mentioned, the majority of older voters do not care about things like climate change and school shootings because they feel that they are not directly impacted. It is the young-aged voters that are directly impacted. However, we are never going to see real change if the younger voters don’t vote. I believe the generalized older voters that are discussed in the video have very different mindsets compared to younger voters. I do not think their mindset is necessarily bad, because for them, they are voting in their own self-interest. But it is time that younger voters do the same, because we are the ones who will have to live in the future that is being voted on in the present.

    If you have not done so already, I encourage everyone to use the links provided at the bottom of this article to register and vote for the change you wish to see!

  15. This article sends a good message to people in my generation. Younger people today have a need to make an impact on the world and fight for political and social causes, and they frequently demonstrate their disdain for social problems in the world by spreading messages on Facebook and other social media, having protests in their hometowns or in DC, and creating or joining organizations that have social awareness and responsibility. However, the actual percentage of people in my generation who vote are much lower than older citizens in our country; a vast majority of voters are 45 and older. Voting is our country’s official way to weigh in on political issues and state a claim. Protests, social media campaigns, and being in organizations are also a good way for people to state their opinions on issues, but these are more unofficial and do not have a direct impact on making change happen. These other methods could be seen as geared toward influencing voters more so than making a direct impact; they raise awareness of issues that should be considered when voting season arrives and an impact can truly be made.

    I find it hypocritical of my generation that there is less voter participation out of all the generations eligible to vote in our country. We seem to have a lot to say on social media, at demonstrations in front of the White House, and in our local campuses and hometowns, yet when it comes down to registering to vote and actually getting a chance to have our voices heard, we decline the opportunity and stay at home. Increasing voter participation in younger generations is something our government, our generation, and our States are going to have to collectively work on in order to effectively combat the social issues our nation faces today.

  16. I agree with this article. As an American citizen, voting is a duty of ours. It is important that we fulfill this duty because it can make a huge difference in politics and our country as a whole. I believe that as a part of the younger generation, it is important to stay in tune with the current events that are happening in our country so when we do go to vote, we are educated. Not voting at all is almost as bad as being an uneducated voter. I think that it is so important to pay attention to what these politicians believe in and want for our country. Just going to vote for republicans or democrats because that is what you see yourself as, is something that is very common. I think in order to make an informed decision on what you feel is best for our country, it is important to have an open mind and to hear all perspectives no matter their political party. I think something that the younger generation tends to do is have a closed minded approach to specific candidates because they are a republican or democrat. Rather than listening to what they have to say and then making an informed decision based on that.

    In conclusion, in order for our country to move forward it is important to hear what everyone feels and thinks. Voting is a great way to do that and it is something we need to take pride in because it is a great freedom that we have in this country. Depending on your personal view, if you want to make a change in our country go out and vote. Sitting at home, in protest of the current status of this country, will not help. If you believe in what this country is doing, continue to go out and vote. What makes this country so special is that we have these freedoms and rights like voting. We need to use this to our advantage and get people out to vote so that we can always look to take the right steps to progress as a country.

  17. I learned this concept early in a college economics class. By not having an opinion, you are giving more power to the other side because you are being objective. This can be applied to any situation, such as deciding what to eat or what movie you want to see. Those things don’t have as much impact on society as does voting. In the 2016 presidential election, about 117 million people who were eligible to vote, did not. ( Refraining from voting, as mentioned in the article, doubles the value of someone else’s vote. People don’t realize the power their vote may have to sway the outcome one way or another. If there are less people from the population voting, then their votes weigh more on the outcome. Voting is a privilege that should not be taken for granted, and I believe that everyone should exercise that privilege if they have the means to. It is shocking how many people don’t vote because they make assumptions that their opinion won’t matter or because they think the candidate they support will just come out on top no matter what. I have recently realized the power of a single vote, and I am trying to become more politically aware so that I may have a positive impact by voting in the next election. If everyone thought the same way, we might see a more accurate result of what our country wants in our leaders. The article quotes David Foster Wallace as he says “[the two major parties] are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored….and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home…” I never thought about the psychology of voting before, but this is a decent tactic to use towards voters. If they are not given much motivation to go out and vote, they won’t. This could also be a result of companies not having Election Day off. Some people can’t afford to take off to go vote, so they might just not vote at all. If there was more motivation for everyone to make it out to the polls perhaps the outcome would be different.

  18. The midyear election is a very important time for people to vote especially with this current one coming up. Many people did not want our current president in office, Donald Trump, to win the election. As it turns out, even more, people were dissatisfied with what Trump accomplished in Office. He has taken immigrant children from their families which is a very unbelievable topic with these children placed in warehouses for months. Either way, the demographic between the age of 18-29 has a real power to change who is in the office and our government overall. This age group is one of the largest demographics that want to change who is in the office but many of us are too lazy or do not want to get up and make a change. Many of us are simply talking about the action and not actually performing the action. I completely agree with David Foster Wallace that if you choose not to vote, it is basically shooting yourself in the foot. You are not doing anything that could turn out to be good, but instead one is not doing anything and that’s the worse part. Also, to my surprise, I learned from David Foster Wallace that if one does not vote, you are basically doubling the vote of the voter. You could potentially be doubling a vote for someone, it could possibly be a vote for a representative that you do not like. You need to prevent that, many people do not realize that your vote could change everything. I have talked to multiple people now and in the past with voting. Most of them regret not voting because, in their country or state, they saw that one more vote or two more, would have made a difference in the election. If you still do not want to vote or are too lazy, I encourage many of my peers to watch the powerful video of “Dear Young People: Don’t Vote” has such a strong message that truly compelled me to vote and prove to the older people that my generation wants change. That my generation is not just full of lies and talk. This will certainly motivate many people to vote in the mid-election, vote for a change.

  19. In today’s world, young adults are ignoring the fact that voting has a huge impact by doubling the value of someone who voted. This relates to a video I saw on Twitter teasing the millennial generation that Americans 50 and over are deciding the future for Americans. For example, the people in the video acted as if they were mocking young individuals for voting as they plan on raising taxes and implementing stricter laws since they can because of the lack of citizens voting. Most college students my age seem to have the same answer if asked if they are voting in the upcoming election. The common answer is, “no I am not. I do not know much about both candidates.” But why do know college students not seem to follow what is going on in the up and coming elections? It is frustrating to see students have no knowledge of their future state representatives. I feel that many people in today’s world ignore elections because they feel as if this is not a worry for themselves until they are older and have a job. However, it makes sense to know who is getting elected for these positions now, instead of hurting yourself when you are older and regretting not paying attention to politics. My favorite statement of this article is one of the last lines in the article stating, “you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” I agree with this statement as it seems that voting results in another person’s vote counting more than yours. For example, in the 2000 presidential election, the state of Florida came down to the thousands in deciding who would win the election. Governor Bush had won the election, and those Americans who were mad about the decision cannot blame anyone but themselves. Voting matters as political decision are affecting the livelihood of society by the day.

  20. Many people over the last couple of years have become disgusted with the political system of the United States as it stands today. This is due to people feeling like they as an individual don’t actually have an effect on what happens in our government. They feel like their one vote during the election of leaders is inconsequential due to it being just one vote of the millions of people who live in the United States of America. Therefore over the past couple years the amount of people going to vote has been reducing dramatically.

    This is something that is not healthy for our country. Our country’s officials are supposed to represent the views of the entire people of the United States. If 20% percent of the country didn’t actually go out and vote during elections then the people who are elected into office wouldn’t truly reflect the views of the people of the United States as a whole. Therefore, when those officials go out and make decisions in congress there will undoubtedly be more people who are don’t agree with them who simply didn’t vote and make their opinions heard in any way, shape, or form.

    In an article by Rolling Stone magazine, David Foster writes that by not voting someone is actually just voting for the entrenched establishments of the two parties. He argues that there is actually no such thing as not voting. He argues that by staying at home during primary day you are voting in that you are in an essence doubling the value of one diehard republican or democrat’s vote. He also says that it is in the best interest of the two political parties that people stay at home on Election Day and don’t go out and vote.

    In my opinion not voting doesn’t make much sense in that if you have the power to effect the government in any way and express your political views you should do so. I think it does double the value of people who are extremely sided to either side of the aisle. Sadly this can lead to the country not being fully accurately represented by the people it puts into office. Although people not voting is a problem for our country, I really don’t see how it could possibly get better and be fixed. People are disgusted with our political system and unless the two parties do something to change that people will continue to not go to the polls in huge numbers.

  21. Voting is a major topic today. Since the last Presidential election surprised many people by the outcome contradicting what was predicted to happen, voting has been stressed. The biggest demographic that is urged to vote is millennials and now generation Z who are old enough to vote. This need comes from young adult’s reluctance to either do the research or to vote for anyone non-problematic. There is a good amount of the population that are too worried about there own lives to even care enough to do minimal research and register to vote. Another aspect of this stems from young adults not thinking that their vote counts. Young people generally feel disregarded in society in general. A lot of that stigma comes from the fact that we get most of our news and information online. While the internet can be an amazing source of information, it can also be the breeding ground of a lot of fake news. This is a big problem in our world today, because even if they choose to do the research, it is hard to find an unbiased source to give you the facts of the matter. This leads us too the other main reason people do not vote, there are no “ideal” candidates. This was especially true in the last election, both parties had scandalous moments and checkered pasts. In this age of information, it is easier than ever to dig up skeletons that are in these politicians’ closets. Since it has become common practice to crucify people based on their political beliefs, some young would-be-voters are afraid to announce their beliefs and align themselves with a politician who is problematic, even if they share those same views. Other adults started voting in a less politically-polarized environment, so they do not have these same qualms about voting. Young adults are who this article aims to talk to, they need to realize by giving up your vote you are empowering someone else’s. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. People need to be encouraged to use their vote and stand for what they believe in. I believe this starts with the two parties being less hostile towards each other. The viciousness coming from both sides only fosters this environment where not voting is the easy way out. Not saying it will solve all of the above reasons why people don’t vote, but it will definitely help.

  22. The short article from David Wallace about voting is very engaging and on point. Although it is not very long it brings to light how important voting is to our nation. A no vote has a negative impact, it virtually doubles the value of someone who does vote indirectly. Being disgusted and annoyed with politics is truly no excuse to not go out to vote. If a person complains about the government then they should be motivated by what they dislike to go out and vote to make a change. It seems to be a common problem among our generation to not vote. Whether it be the fact that a majority of young people feel as if politics do not have much if an impact on their lives or simply that were tired of it. For most the government is seen as a place where corrupt individuals get what they want and rarely listen to the citizen. The only way to fix this problem or whatever problem people see in the government is to vote. If you do not vote you take the power you have as a citizen to get rid of the corruption within government although that’s not guaranteed. Even if you do not find any of the candidates to be appealing you should vote for the one you find as a better fit for the position. With the midterm elections coming up it is important for everyone who can vote to do the research on their options and to make a choice at the poles. It is especially important for the younger generation to step up and get out to vote. Voting does not take long, there is no reason or excuse for not voting. If you do not go out and vote it really just makes you lazy and not really caring the future of the country. In the end the article is just trying to give people the motivation to vote but does not really go in depth on the responsibility a person has with voting and not viewing the world through the eyes of the media.

  23. This article was short and straight to the point. For the 2016 election, the voter turnout was at a 20-year low in 2016. Approximately 55% of voters cast a ballot last presidential election (Wallace). It is unfortunate that many countries around the world do not give citizens the right to vote, but in the United States, voter turnout is poor. In the United States, there should be long lines on voting day. We are all aware that individuals before us have gone through torture and jail so that we have the right to vote today. The typical reason for not participating in presidentially or midterm voting is that “my vote does not matter.” This is false because the lower the voter turnout, the more heavily each vote weighs, which can influence the outcome of a close election.

    Voting activists are encouraging young people to vote, but it seems like new voters look at it as a hassle. As a marketing major, I think it may be wise to reposition the concept of voting. For example, the New York Times conducted a test that reframed voting to be apart of self-image. Instead of asking people to vote, citizens were asked if they wanted to become a voter. This altered people’s perceptions of voting because their decision to become a voter reflects on their character. After this experiment, voting in New Jersey increased by 14 percent (Grant). Therefore, more Americans should avoid thinking of voting as something a good citizen would do; instead, something they should do because they are good citizens.

    Grant, Adam. “Don’t Like the Candidates? Vote Anyways.” New York Times, 1 October 2016, https: //

    Wallace, Gregory. “Voter Turnout at 20-Year Low.” CNN, 30 November 2016,
    https: //

  24. What’s the point of voting? Honestly, what is the point? Even if our votes mattered, which they don’t, these politicians and people connected to them are finding ways to cheat the system and then say there’s nothing they can do to fix it. Today it was discovered that in Texas, nearly 30% of the people’s votes were changed to support the party they were voting against. The voting system in our country is a rigged and useless system that in no way gives power to the people. So go vote and get your pin and act like you did something, post it on social media that you voted even though you don’t really care about elections or have a basic understanding of the political views of the party you are voting for (the majority of young people). Old people also vote too much in this country and considering retired people contribute nothing to society I think they should have the right to vote revoked. Nobody needs to hear their opinion anymore, it doesn’t matter, keep collecting social security until you die. If you try to tell me that my vote matters, I will tell you to shove it, it is my vote and I will do nothing with it like I have done, this is my right as an American.

  25. Although the article is not very long, it gives a great insight into a big problem in the country. There are many people in the country who decide they don’t care for either of the candidates they could possibly vote for, I myself was one of these people in the past election. I’ve come to realize that not voting is a big mistake because even though I didn’t want either candidate to win, there was clearly someone I can pick as a better option. Just because either candidate isn’t a good choice for what I would like to see doesn’t mean I can’t believe in one over the other. I have the right to vote and should exercise that right as much as I can. Voting is about being heard in a democracy and all citizens should exercise this right. Although I am not a big politics guy I still must do my part in choosing the right leaders for the country. The fact that I didn’t vote allows someone else to have double the power in their vote. That person could be someone who voted for a candidate I didn’t think was very fit to be in office and run the country. If you add up the total amount of people like me who didn’t vote, those votes who now have double the power really start to add up. Instead of not voting people like me have to stop the idea of not voting because we don’t like either candidate. There are two main parties and obviously one person may not agree with all of the opinions of just one party. But we have to instead choose a candidate who’s values and beliefs are closer to ours than the other. So if there is someone we don’t think is very fit, we just choose the other candidate instead of not voting and doubling the power of the opposing sides vote. I have lacked on my right to vote but I can say I definitely won’t do it again, hopefully other people who didn’t vote start to think the same thing.

  26. After reading this article I felt inclined to research some statistics from the notorious Clinton vs Trump presidential votes. Many were unhappy with both candidate and felt on the fence on which way to vote, like picking the worse of two evils. Some of these people though, decided the best decision for them would be to not vote at all, so they could gripe about either candidates actions, because they did not vote for them. They were fearful their vote would go to a president they did not want, so them abstaining would stick it to the government. But, as Jason says in this article, them not voting only makes some die hard trump or clinton supporter vote twice as impactful. The common phrase, that appears right before election, of “my one vote isn’t going to make a difference” is what the die hards want you to think. The diehards want the vote count to be lower so their individual vote has more power. In the Trump vs Clinton election, around 130 million votes were casted while the US population was just above 300 million and the US population above 18 years old is around 255 million(link for source below). I would assume the 130 million is so low because of the uninvolved citizens in combination with the angry at both candidates that decided to abstain persons. This combination brought the voting to just about half the population which is eligible to vote which is extremely shocking. Below half of our country did not vote for the presidential race, yet everyone has a strong opinion on Trump’s presidency. With less than half our population voting, each person’s vote was worth more than double the actual value.

    On one hand, the engagement of the US population is encouraged so everyone’s opinion is heard. But on the other hand, as Jason states in his article, some candidates want you to justify reasonings to stay home and not vote. If a candidate sees they have a large advantage in number of die hard voters weighing on their side, they would want the on the fences to stay home so they secure the position. But when the race is close, as seen in the Trump vs Clinton race, each candidate was promoting each and every eligible person to “get up and off the couch to vote” because their vote was powerful (especially when only half of the eligible voters planned on voting) and they hoped people would side with them. There are many ways to promote citizens motivation to vote which can lead to an endless discussion of ideas, but I don’t believe the candidates advocating for the citizens to vote is enough, as we saw how that worked out in the Trump vs Clinton election.

  27. In the 2016 election, I was not able to vote because my 18th birthday was in December, missing election day by about a month and a half. Since I missed it, I never really got into the habit of keeping up with elections or voting. My parents also usually do not vote, so that is the way that I grew up, never really being super into politics or elections. I obviously have my own opinions on democrats and republicans and know what I believe, but I have never been pushed to go vote since my own household usually does not do so. In the next presidential election I do plan to vote, but for the time being it is not something that I have really been into.
    In this article, it talks about how people that do not vote, are increasing the value of those people that do vote. I do understand this and I do plan to start voting, I just feel that the fact that I was cut off for the last presidential election while some of my friends were not is what made me not as inclined to participate in voting for other things. The article states that “By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” I feel like a lot of people, and again I am victim to this, just think that “oh it is okay, someone else will do it”. It is almost like the situations where someone witnesses a car crash or someone in trouble and is not the first to respond or take initiative to help and call the police for help. It is a psychological term called the bystander effect, which means that the more people there are (bystanders) or in this case voters, the less likely it is that one of them will help (or in this case vote). I have definitely thought this way towards voting, but no one else should have more say or more power towards who wins a particular election than me or anyone else. I now know to start participating in elections, this was a wake up call for me.

  28. As a young professional, I found this read to be quite interesting because I have constantly heard others expressly state that there vote does not matter. In fact, several studies have indicated that many people feel as if their vote does not even matter. But, accordingly to this article called “Column: Why it’s important to vote in 2018” by Megan Holmen, it summarizes my stance on the matter by stating that “Without a vote, you have no voice and no influence in how decisions are made”. I always find it mind-boggling whenever I hear others of minority decent like myself say they don’t vote because they don’t care in light of the fact that it is such a privilege to vote (and one that took some time for us to receive). Similar to what the article in topic of writing suggested, by not voting we double someone else vote! I believe people should always vote. You don’t have to agree and vote for a specific party if your beliefs and values do not correlate with them. You can opt to vote for an independent party instead. The privilege of voting should never be taken for granted here in America!

  29. I have always been told how important it is to vote by my family and by my peers. This article is very short but straight to the point. In my experience my generation has been very hesitant to vote, especially from ages 18-24. This article says everything that I have heard that elections are boring, and they do not want to get involved. Of course, politics is not the most fun thing to read or watch. However, they are extremely important I am not one to sit and watch politicians bash each other in commercials or read commentary. Instead of doing that I research each candidate and decide on my own free will who I believe I should vote for. Ever since I was 18 I always went to vote no matter what it is for.
    I think that people my age and the age group I mentioned before believe their opinion does not matter. Or they have misconception if they do not vote it is just one vote and it does not change anything. However, that one vote is extremely important, if you watched this election (November 6th) for House and Senate you could see how close the election was. I also think that the media is working on that and working to get younger age groups to vote and vocalize their opinion. I think that this media movement of posting on social media and informing the youth of the importance is so crucial. When I went to vote a couple of days ago I had an encounter that was so disappointing. There was a woman outside walking up to people my age trying to persuade them to vote for the people she the thought should be elected. She was actually changing their minds making them feel uneducated and uncertain that their own choice is better than hers. I took it upon myself to speak up because the whole point of voting is to voice your own opinion not falling for the opinion of other. Therefore, I think voting needs to be taken more seriously because we are the future and if we want any control of our future we should take part in voting.

  30. Voting is one of the few remaining privileges that a young adult obtains once they turn eighteen, though more and more it feels as if young adults are not taking advantage of this privilege. Even a majority of the students I take classes with have admitted to never even registering to vote when they turned eighteen. These students are often the same students complaining about the current people in office or political statuses, and yet they aren’t doing anything to change it. That is why articles like this matter. It matters to younger people who are complaining, but choosing to do nothing by not voting. This article stresses the importance of convincing not just young voters to vote, though they are the ones continuously not showing up on voting days, but all eligible voters. Though short, this article helps to express the importance.
    There are many citizens who do not understand the election years in their own state. For example, I asked a majority of my coworkers if they knew if this year was an election year (state or federal office), most of them said no and I explained to them that New Jersey is one of two states in the country (Virginia) where there is an election every year. This came as a shock to them, some even admitting they have not voted in years. Partly, I see it as the fault of the education system, partly how people are raised, but in truth, there is nobody to blame but yourself.
    I also see there being an issue in citizens not believing that their vote matters. This article touches on this as well. It says, “In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” Not voting at all does not mean you casted a vote for the other side, but you did not cast a vote for your side, which is just the same.

  31. While quite a bit has already been said about this article none of it has been written in 2020, so here we are. This article has a short and elegant message: when you don’t vote you are voting for the majority. While this idea is simple in theory and most college-educated young people see it as a no brainer that one should vote, voter turnout in practice doesn’t reflect the clear black-and-whiteness that many people would ascribe to it. So despite simple and clear advice from excellent writers like Wallace why don’t people end up voting? Well, in 2020 the answers are pretty apparent. Starting with the first issue, the topic of voter fraud and voter suppression being argued on both ends of the asile, Generally, conservatives argue that there is systemic voter fraud that will occur through the mail-in ballot system that needs to be in place for this election due to the pandemic. On the other side, liberals make the case that voter ID laws and other hidden blocks work to suppress and discount legitimate voices in the American electoral process, particularly minorities. So, with only those pieces of speculation in play, both sides believe that their voice and vote may be thrown out or be unable to be counted due to some unknown technicality they couldn’t prepare for. Secondly, people don’t want to vote because of both sides being painted as so unapologetically awful by the other. While this increased partisanship does encourage greater engagement from those who believe in one side or the other it also can cause pure exhaustion and general disheartening at the whole system, why should you vote if both candidates are corrupt? Lastly, people don’t vote because they are consistently told that their vote doesn’t matter, plucky social media campaigns aside. The day to day is often viewed as being totally separate from politics and many people discuss political issues as things beyond their control or beyond their vote, if there is constantly statements that politics and policies don’t do anything for you in your day to day, someone making minimum wage doesn’t have time to care about politics when politics never took the time to care about them. So while Wallice is absolutely right about how not voting is an identical choice to voting, besides the choosing element, one cannot discount nonvoters as being unengaged, apathetic, or stupid. Those who don’t vote are the product of decades of political cynicism and, if 2020 is any indication, there will be a long time before America will be able to move beyond that.

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