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November
7
2006
7:18 pm
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Did you vote? If so, I thank you.

If you didn’t, I’m disappointed. Can you comment here as to why? The major reasons I’ve heard for people don’t vote seem pretty weak, so I’m interested to hear why, say almost 70% of the people in Travis County did _not_ vote.

The election machines were _not_ a problem. So incredibly easy I couldn’t believe it. Anyone who has a problem with the design and operation of the machines shouldn’t be allowed to vote (this doesn’t apply to actual outages).

The lines weren’t that bad. Sure, there were prolly 20 folks in front of me but it went quick. It’s not like there was someone who was going to shoot me for voting, like in some countries.

Finding the place to vote at? That _was_ a little frustrating because my precinct (375) changed places, and Google Maps, mapquest, and yahoo Maps all fail to find “quiet moon trail” in Travis County, and the voting phone number rang fast busy all day and their website was mostly unresponsive. So a little ding on the process there. (DING! Voting’s done!)

There were some races where there was only one candidate, and the candidate was a Democrat. I chose not to vote in those, if only to send a statement. I’m hoping the results show that a low percentage actually voted for the sole candidate.

And lo, the people did comment thus:

8 Comments

  1. Ren says:

    I didn’t vote. I considered voting several times, but each time I felt unprepared. In the end I decided that I simply didn’t have an opinion one way or another on most of the issues or candidates, with the potential exception of Governor where I considered it a fait accompli for Perry (and I would have voted for the Libertarian candidate anyway).

  2. whall says:

    When the smartest guy I know says he’s unprepared, I guess I need to have some self-reflection.

    (Pause)

    Ok, I’ve decided I’m right. It’s better to vote.

  3. whall says:

    Why are you the smartest person I know? I guess you read a lot, your parents stimulated your brain at an early age, or maybe it’s just that I don’t know that many people.

    Oh, maybe you meant why is it better to vote.

    Hmm, I’ll have to think about that to not sound dumb.

    1) It just _is_ (I’m a slow starter on this whole ‘don’t sound dumb’ thing
    2) Apathy is contagious. (Oooh, that sounds smart -and- quotable)
    3) If I take it to the extremes (ie, what if _noone_ voted? Ok, what if _everyone_ voted?) I’d say I highly prefer the latter. So I want my actions to support the latter if given a choice.
    4) I have a problem with sedentary whiners. Voting gives me less things to complain about. If something happens or someone gets elected that I disagree with, at least I took some action.
    5) I get a great-looking “I VOTED” sticker and that does wonders for my hubris.
    6) It gives me a great feeling. No, really.

  4. Ren says:

    OK, let me see what my responses are:

    1) It just _is_ (I’m a slow starter on this whole ‘don’t sound dumb’ thing

    Hmm… I guess I might as well end this comment here, then. Or not.

    2) Apathy is contagious. (Oooh, that sounds smart -and- quotable)

    Perhaps we need more apathy? Is indifference different from apathy?

    3) If I take it to the extremes (ie, what if _noone_ voted? Ok, what if _everyone_ voted?) I’d say I highly prefer the latter. So I want my actions to support the latter if given a choice.

    If fewer people voted just to vote, then the people that voted *for a good reason* would have more powerful votes. Whether that would be a good thing or not is another matter, of course. Certainly if you care about the outcome, then you have a reason to vote.

    4) I have a problem with sedentary whiners. Voting gives me less things to complain about. If something happens or someone gets elected that I disagree with, at least I took some action.

    I’m not much of a whiner but I reserve the right to complain about what I consider to be bad decisions made by elected officials. I’m even fine with taking a share of the blame for their election in such situations.

    5) I get a great-looking “I VOTED” sticker and that does wonders for my hubris.

    BTDT.

    6) It gives me a great feeling. No, really.

    I agree and I factored that into my decision.

    Note that I am not against voting in general, and I often do vote. I just didn’t feel the need to vote in this election. Had I thought the governor’s race was going to be close, I might have voted in that, though I’m not sure what the point would be since my preferred candidate wouldn’t have been in the running. I voted last year because I wanted to vote against some propositions and I would have done the same thing this time if I got to vote on the Austin propositions. For the Williamson county and RRISD propositions on which I would have been able to vote, I was neither particularly in favor or against any of them.

  5. Mike Ferguson says:

    I feel there are as many excuses folks use to avoid voting as I use to explain why I missed a shot in pool (hint: there’s a lot). For this reply, I will mention a select few.

    There is a certain degree of weltschmerz that is contributing to low voter turnout. Since they say misery loves company, I fear that it will get worse before it gets better. There are those that simply don’t vote as a form of protest, hoping to bring about change by doing nothing. Those folks then wonder why nothing is done (Wayne’s whiners). Some feel that most candidates are specious and are trying to cozen our votes to ‘feed their Frankenstein,’ so to speak (cheesy Alice Cooper reference). Still others believe, as Ren has stated, that the outcome is inevitable so there is no need to vote.

    So why bother to vote?

    Above all else, I believe that it is our noblesse oblige to participate by voting in our elections. We are very fortunate to live in a country where we are able to choose the individuals that represent us in our government. This right came at a great cost and its importance should not be diminished by our lazed culture.

    In a more practical sense, I prefer action over inaction.

    Ren, in pool, do you choose not to play when facing an opponent that you know is far superior to yourself? Do you recommend that each of us does the same? Do you believe that if we played only one match using our most knowledgeable player that somehow that single match would somehow be more meaningful? Victory and defeat are determined by a culmination of our efforts. Everyone on our team must participate regardless of the odds. The greatest of us lose when the least of us abstains.

    Ren, I have seen you play pool. You give superior effort no matter what you are up against. You never cower and let the team down. I only ask that you have that same attitude toward voting. Vote; always vote.

    Silence may be golden to some, but it accomplishes little.

  6. Ren says:

    I thought about writing up a response to this, but in the end I was just to apathetic.

    🙂

  7. whall says:

    So I’m wondering, now that you saw the govenor’s race was something like a 39% Perry to 33% Bell (or was it 39-36? I don’t know for sure but it was with both of them in the 30-40 range), does that change your opinion that maybe turning out the vote is worthwhile?

    I agree with the assumption that if everyone voted, it might make a ‘legitimate’ or ‘educated’ vote less important (or more diluted if put more accurately), but I also think that it’s possible that a heftier percentage of the population would educate themselves and vote ‘better’. As it stands now, the apathy presents itself such that people have a choice and inaction is frequently easier than action. At least if people ‘had’ to vote, they’d be more likely to care about their vote.

    And I’ve seen Ren shoot pool too. He cares, but he jabs. He prefers to have a beer while jabbing.

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