15
Oct
09

Let’s Think About Voting


            A year ago last October, before the presidential election, I was among the many victims of crusaders trying to capture unregistered voters and motivate the younger voting bracket. They’d set up booths around campus and prey on pedestrians who have the courtesy to give them their attention after being shouted at. Most of these pre-enlightened souls hadn’t even made the effort to understand the significance of voting aside from what they’ve been told and readily accepted.

 

            I stopped one day to chat with someone who asked me whether I was registered to vote. I responded with my own question, “Don’t you think you should be asking me whether I’m sufficiently knowledgeable to vote instead?” He showed me a stack of sheets with the basic positions and aims of each candidate as well as a short biography. An informative flyer. Awesome.

 

This was a good step in the right direction. At least these crusaders understand the importance of being an informed voter. But, still, not enough, because most people don’t even understand how the candidates plan to accomplish their aims or even the integrity of their statements, which can judged by viewing their past accomplishments and stances. How can someone represent themselves and their desires appropriately through their vote if they don’t even understand what they’re voting for? How can they judge the candidate’s proposals without even an understanding of the issues at hand (i.e. economics, politics, history, etc.)?

 

I was lucky enough to have a constructive conversation with an intelligent acquaintance of mine on the value of voting. We found that the only way to have sufficiently informed voters would be to have a highly educated population. Highly improbable for many reasons.

 

So, we concluded that the vote, as a representation of the individual, should be treated as such. People should vote to the extent of their knowledge (or their ignorance, for that matter), because it best represents them. And if people were to relinquish this right, then they would be doing themselves and others like them an injustice for not adding weight to a common cause. If their uniformed vote ends up getting someone like George W. Bush elected, then, so be it. At least America is being represented. Besides, mistakes such as that may end up becoming the impetus people need to make more of an effort to become a more informed voter in years to come.

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