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The Wasted Vote.

 
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 02:59 pm
I just finished having a discussion with a friend of mine who is currently sitting in his "North American Political History" class in University.

I had mentioned to him how I had not voted for the party to which I am accustomed to, or the one that I wanted to vote for, but instead I had voted for the party that would have been the top contender to go against the Liberals here in Canada. (You fellow Canucks know why)

Normally, I vote NDP. For this election however, I simply did not want one of the front runners to be elected () so in order to do my part to avoid the Liberals to be elected in my area, I voted for the only party which had the chance to defeat the Liberals, which of course are the Conservatives.

Here's the debate: By voting for (what I opine as) the lesser of two evils...did I waste my vote, or did I betray my beliefs in the NDP?


The big question is of course: When is a vote actually wasted? Is a vote ever truly wasted, if the person voting believes in what they're doing? What is a wasted vote?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,464 • Replies: 26
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Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Oct, 2008 04:42 am
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
When is a vote actually wasted?


Never, I wouldn't think.
0 Replies
 
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 12:34 pm
@Aristoddler,
My view is that one should vote according to their actual preference. Whether one votes for a party that is likely to win or one without much of a chance, your single vote will almost certainly not change the election's results. I know of no case in which an election came down to one vote. Of course, people criticize this view of mine, usually when I'm defending the America Libertarian Party, by saying that, "...well, if everyone thought that way, it could make a difference." This is stupid though; unless I am preaching my voting philosophy, it remains private; I influence no one.
0 Replies
 
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 03:00 pm
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler;30364 wrote:
By voting for (what I opine as) the lesser of two evils...did I waste my vote, or did I betray my beliefs in the NDP?

You did not waste your vote, you voted for evil.
Who and what you 'betray' by doing so is your business.
0 Replies
 
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 03:05 pm
@Aristoddler,
It may be that one vote will not decide an election (it did decide an impeachment in the US), especially if one votes for a third-party candidate. But if that candidate actually receives a significant (leaving the definition intentionlly open) number of votes, could this not influence future elections or perhaps some of the decisions of those in power by its number? That the Libertarian Party gets even a marginal number might cause Independents to give it a "second look" next time, and it might signify to everyone that there is a section of citizens voting against both traditional parties.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 07:17 pm
@Aristoddler,
Is it a wasted vote to vote for the inevitable winner? I lived in Connecticut until I was 30 years old except for 4 years in New York for college, and then spent 3 years in Boston from 30-33 years of age. I'm a liberal guy, I voted for Clinton, Gore, Kerry, etc, I voted for Ted Kennedy when I was in Boston, etc. Were those wasted votes because the outcome was a foregone conclusion?

Now I've lived in North Carolina for about a year and a half, and suddenly I'm in the middle of a political battleground (which is incidentally utterly annoying). My vote means a lot more here. And, in fact, if I chose to vote for a hopeless third party candidate, it would NOT be wasted here because the "volume" of such a statement would be more important.

Think about the Nader voters in Florida in 2000 -- their votes weren't wasted, they were (regrettably) central to the election.
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 03:09 pm
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
Here's the debate: By voting for (what I opine as) the lesser of two evils...did I waste my vote, or did I betray my beliefs in the NDP?

I think you should be applauded for not letting a partizan preference for a particular party prevent you from supporting another if and when their policies or candidates are superior. I suspect many people apathetically support a particular party simply because during the formation of their political opinions a particular party seemed more attractive - and they can't be bothered to keep up to date with the vissicitudes that the parties they could vote for go through.

I don't think you have betrayed anyone. Perhaps if you want your vote to count as constructive criticism you should find a way of feeding back to your usual choice of support why you felt that you could not do so this time round.

I am in two minds as to whether or not a vote can be wasted. I tend to think that even if you back a clear loser your votes counts, as the winning parties may adopt, say, Green principles if they notice that the Green party have done better than they expected despite not winning.

On the other hand I think political parties might simply be too busy meeting their own agendas and reacting to the changes they face to consider adopting the policies of rival parties just because a few more people voted for them than normal - I mean, what chances to Green policies have at a time when people are worried about their jobs?
0 Replies
 
lakeshoredrive
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 02:15 pm
@Aristoddler,
To waste a vote is to remove its value from it.
By asking the question you posed above, you are assuming that a vote has some intrinsic value. So I would answer your question with another question: what value, if any, does a vote inherently possess?
The vote, to me, only has worth to those who choose to play the game of Politics. And, if there is no value, then what is there to waste? Can something without meaning be wasted?
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Dec, 2008 07:53 am
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive wrote:
The vote, to me, only has worth to those who choose to play the game of Politics. And, if there is no value, then what is there to waste? Can something without meaning be wasted?


Woah, so voting has no worth? I've always been under the idea that voting played some part in an election. You mean this isn't true?

Could you elaborate?

Thanks
Joe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Dec, 2008 08:19 am
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
I just finished having a discussion with a friend of mine who is currently sitting in his "North American Political History" class in University.

I had mentioned to him how I had not voted for the party to which I am accustomed to, or the one that I wanted to vote for, but instead I had voted for the party that would have been the top contender to go against the Liberals here in Canada. (You fellow Canucks know why)

Normally, I vote NDP. For this election however, I simply did not want one of the front runners to be elected () so in order to do my part to avoid the Liberals to be elected in my area, I voted for the only party which had the chance to defeat the Liberals, which of course are the Conservatives.

Here's the debate: By voting for (what I opine as) the lesser of two evils...did I waste my vote, or did I betray my beliefs in the NDP?


The big question is of course: When is a vote actually wasted? Is a vote ever truly wasted, if the person voting believes in what they're doing? What is a wasted vote?



What you are experiencing is truly mind opening. You are asking your self, whether you realize it or not, what does a "party" really represent? Does it play on generalities and pull you into something you do not totally agree with?

Take this to a place where you can honestly look at the system. Go from there and maybe you'll embark on something that causes real influence and change. Find a way to address these questions, completely.
0 Replies
 
lakeshoredrive
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Dec, 2008 11:57 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Woah, so voting has no worth? I've always been under the idea that voting played some part in an election. You mean this isn't true?

Could you elaborate?

Thanks


First of all, you don't have to be sarcastic like that. It doesn't benefit anyone.

Second, I never said voting did not play a part in an election. Votes do, indeed, in theory determine the results of a democratic election.

What I am talking about is whether or not votes matter, and how you determine whether or not something matters. Please, at least re-read what I said with a more open attitude. And try to understand my point of view, that it is pointless to have a discussion on pragmatic politics without first discussing whether or not the political system being discussed has any reason to exist.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Dec, 2008 03:52 pm
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive wrote:
First of all, you don't have to be sarcastic like that. It doesn't benefit anyone.

Second, I never said voting did not play a part in an election. Votes do, indeed, in theory determine the results of a democratic election.

What I am talking about is whether or not votes matter, and how you determine whether or not something matters. Please, at least re-read what I said with a more open attitude.


Holy cow, you seem to have deduced quite the picture of my intent there.

In any case, I was hoping you'd elaborate. You'd said that to you, the vote only has worth those who, "... play the game of politics"; leaving the distinct impression that its only value lies within the context of a 'game'.

I was hoping to hear your reasoning/thoughts behind this low opinion. Sarcasm free, I assure you.

Thanks
Solace
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Dec, 2008 04:18 pm
@Khethil,
Well, isn't it just a game though? Politics in general, I mean, and therefore, by extension, voting. Take for instance that Conservatives/Republicans often run for office with pro-life promises. But in the last eight years, has the Bush administration made any real effort to even limit abortions? (And, in Canada, has the Harper administration?) I'm not asking this to open up a pro-life/pro-choice debate, only to illustrate the point that it seems rather like a game is being played when the party in power doesn't make any real effort toward resoving an issue that is often very important to their constinuency and to their campaign strategy. I know that getting laws/resolutions/what-have-you passed is often a difficult process, but if the Bush administraion put even half the effort into their pro-life agenda that they put into their pro-war agenda they might see things change in a way that has more significance to their constinuents, that is they might be preserving life at home, rather than ending lives on foreign soil.

Apologies to Aristoddler for taking this thread so far off-topic. As for the question you asked, I don't think that voting for another party other than where your interest usually lies can be considered a betrayal, unless you consider it as such. You need to decide whether or not you betrayed your morals/political sensibilities/whatever. If I were a person who votes, I'd also vote NDP. But if I decided to vote elsewise for a particular election, I daresay my conscience and reason would guide me, as, no doubt, did yours. So that being all said, I can't even see how your vote could be considered a betrayal even by you. You had your reason and, at least to you, it was a valid one. To be straight up, if you hadn't voted as you did, then you would have betrayed yourself, because you voted as your conscience dictated.
Icon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 07:44 am
@Aristoddler,
My posts are usually more robust but I am going to answer this one simply.


You were forced to vote against a greater evil rather than a greater good. Is it not the failure of your government for not providing better options and thus their betrayal against you?
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 08:07 am
@Icon,
Icon wrote:

You were forced to vote against a greater evil rather than a greater good. Is it not the failure of your government for not providing better options and thus their betrayal against you?


Actually, it is a failure of the populous. Because they vote for candidates that typically do not really represent them, they continue to get screwed. Its the whole lie thing. You tell a lie enough times and people will believe it.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 04:48 pm
@Solace,
Solace wrote:
Well, isn't it just a game though? Politics in general, I mean, and therefore, by extension, voting.


Define "just a game".

Not to be obstinate here, but without clarification on just what the expressee is saying here, 'just a game' could apply to everything: Life is just a game, evisceration is just a game. Like so many vague statements uttered here, it has no meaning without some context - some framing - in which to couch that statement.

But let's go with that, let's say its just a game. Let's assume that despite anything that's said, anyone who is elected they're all scum; they go back on their promises and all descend into corruption. No one is worth a damn and any political system in place (wherein elections are a part) will ultimately corrupt any of the best intentions. Shall we not vote? Shall we sit on our hands, fashionably spouting bitterness and apathy? I know that abject negativity seems to be the fashion so often these days, but how exactly does this lack-of-participation and dank degradation help us? If I have but one chance in a thousand to make a difference, make my desires known, isn't that worth it?

I abhor the negative wave of hate that so often blankets us. For some, I'm guessing its but another excuse to be lazy and not vote. For others, they like to sit on their pedestal of trailer-park foam bed, Jerry Springer blaring out and fancying themself the lone 'Rebel without a Cause: I shall damn the world cuz I'm special'.

Sooner or later, despite all the adversity we encounter in any system, the true metal of a nation's character is shown by its ability to try when there doesn't seem to be a reason, to hope when the future's dim and to give it a shot even when the odds are down.

I think its important. No, it wasn't always this way, but as I grow older I'm beginning to see the importance in the effort; and yes, even those small-chance outcomes.

Thanks
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 08:51 pm
@Solace,
Solace wrote:
Well, isn't it just a game though? Politics in general, I mean, and therefore, by extension, voting. Take for instance that Conservatives/Republicans often run for office with pro-life promises. But in the last eight years, has the Bush administration made any real effort to even limit abortions? I'm not asking this to open up a pro-life/pro-choice debate, only to illustrate the point that it seems rather like a game is being played when the party in power doesn't make any real effort toward resoving an issue that is often very important to their constinuency and to their campaign strategy.


That's an asture observation. Has anyone else noticed that the two parties are growing increasingly similiar on all but the most trivial issues? Hm, why would that be...I wonder if the same interests control both parties...:whistling:
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 09:40 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;38667 wrote:
That's an asture observation. Has anyone else noticed that the two parties are growing increasingly similiar on all but the most trivial issues?
Iraq, climate change, social programs, executive power, gun rights... these are trivial? Because they're certainly different between the two parties.
0 Replies
 
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 11:11 pm
@Aristoddler,
Not to mention the biggest difference--regulation of private industry.
0 Replies
 
Solace
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 04:19 am
@Khethil,
Quote:

Define "just a game".



I thought I gave a fair assessment of how I considered it to be a game in my previous post, which at least one fellow, BrightNoon, picked up on.

Quote:

Shall we not vote? Shall we sit on our hands, fashionably spouting bitterness and apathy?


No I don't vote. I will admit apathy, but not bitterness. What in my previous post was bitter? I'm not a pro-lifer, so, as I said then, I was only illustrating an example of how it seems that a game is being played. I am, though, anti-war, in any shape or form.

Quote:
If I have but one chance in a thousand to make a difference, make my desires known, isn't that worth it?


Certainly it is. But I'm not trying to make a difference here. Not in politics anyway. I'm content to let the world be as it is. To be blunt, we could all use a little more apathy, at least as far as politics and matters of wealth and power are concerned. Then there'd be fewer wars.

Quote:

I abhor the negative wave of hate that so often blankets us.


That's a sad statement coming from a fellow posting a negative wave of hate. You essentially called me lazy or else trailer-trash.

Quote:

Sooner or later, despite all the adversity we encounter in any system, the true metal of a nation's character is shown by its ability to try when there doesn't seem to be a reason, to hope when the future's dim and to give it a shot even when the odds are down.



No, the true character of a nation is shown by how willing and eager its' people are to run around and commit murder. Your own nation has shown us that metal many times. And in that sense, the only real sense that matters imo, the democrats are no different than the republicans, cause the majority of the democrats voted to invade Iraq as well. Yes, a game is being played, a dangerous and deadly one.
 

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