Voting

It's OK Not to Vote

Instead, you can do something that will actually make the world a better place. Which is basically anything else.

|

Amazon

You're probably a good person, or at least you try to be. You want to do the right thing. But are you having trouble shaking the sense the you might have better things to do next Tuesday than voting?

Instead of trying to motivate yourself and others to do a thing that feels pointless, why not stop to consider the possibility it actually is pointless? And not in an "all of human endeavor is pointless" kind of way. In a highly specific way that can actually be dealt with productively.

First things first: Your vote is wildly, insanely, hugely unlikely to influence the outcome of an election. No presidential election has ever been decided by a single vote. Academic surveys of close elections have turned up one 1910 Buffalo contest that may have been a true single-vote victory, and that's in 100 years of congressional races. In four of the 10 closest congressional and state legislative races dating back to 1898, further investigations and recounts nearly always unearthed margins significantly larger than what initially appeared in the official record. Your vote is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very unlikely to change the outcome of an election.

But what about the cascade effect, you ask? Won't my decision not to vote influence others, reducing voter turnout and thereby the legitimacy of our very form of government, hastening the demise of the American experiment?

Probably not! People are hard to convince. I'm not even convincing you right now! You're probably not going to vote anyway, and you're still not convinced by this post! That's OK. You're just making my point for me. Your actions are unlikely to influence others in this instance, so you should do what's right for you. (Alternately, you could skip voting and simply mislead others into thinking you did so. You can order a roll of "I Voted" stickers right now and have them in time for this Election Day and every single one thereafter.)

And listen, if you're in it for the warm fuzzies and the people-watching, that's fine. Maybe your own pleasure in the act of voting is the best you can do with your time to make the world a better place. That's OK. It's good to do things that make you happy! But for goodness' sake, stop looking askance at the stickerless.

We have parent-teacher conferences. (Why, D.C. Public Schools? Why!?) We have columns to write about the nature of civic virtue. We have a shift at the soup kitchen. We have one stamp and two envelopes to mail. We have weddings or funerals to attend. We have Kenyan cows to Kickstart. We have a vacation later this year. We have jury duty. We have to correct someone who is wrong on the internet. We have puppies to pet. We have burritos to microwave. Exactly 100 percent of the activities listed above will have more tangible benefit in the world than voting.

To be clear: If someone said to me, "KMW, you are the only voter in this election. What you decide will in fact determine the outcome of the election," then I would vote. I do not think the act of ballot casting is (necessarily) intrinsically bad for all humans. But neither is it intrinsically good.

If you do want to dig deeper on that intrinsic badness angle angle, may I suggest philosopher Jason Brennan's book on the topic? In 2012, I was raring to go on the idea that voting might in fact be immoral. But I've mellowed in my old age. I don't want to fight you about whether an uninformed vote may actually cause harm by incentivizing stupider party platforms and rhetoric. I don't want to squabble about whether believing the candidates or the system are ethically flawed or produce bad results makes voters complicit in the subsequent abuses by the powerful. I don't want to holler about how damaging the cliche "if you don't vote you can't complain" is to the fundamental tenets of free speech. (Hm. I guess I actually still do want to fight about those things.)

Bless this lineup of "young people" who explained to New York magazine why they are not voting. They seem to be the only ones in this crazy world who understand opportunity cost. The article has been shared a lot, and I suspect mostly in the service of vote-shaming and fostering generational warfare. I am in favor of both shame and generational warfare, but this is not the way to go about it. Because, to be honest, nearly each and every one of these 20-somethings is making solid points.

"The idea of leaving work, forwarding all of my calls to my phone, to go stand in line for four hours, to probably get called back to work before I even get halfway through the line, sounds terrible," says Maria, 26. She goes on to note that she cares deeply about certain issues, including immigration and reproductive rights, but rightly recognizes that standing in line to vote is not an efficient way to further those causes. And there's Thomas, 28, who says: "Over the years, I've started to think maybe we don't have to frame this so much as an individual act with these moral consequences and that I need to stop being so dramatic about it." Wise. And of course Tim, the hero of the forum who bravely proclaims: "I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety."

So here's a simple a proposition: Instead of voting on Election Day, just do the things that actually benefit you, your family, your community, or the world. Instead of queuing up to enact a symbolic ritual with a vanishingly small chance of altering the course of events, take the time and money you would have spent voting—even if it's very little time and/or money—and do literally anything else as long as it has real-world impact. Including fighting with me on Twitter about this post, if you like.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

222 responses to “It's OK Not to Vote

  1. Your choice; but if you don’t vote, you can’t bitch about the government for the next two years.

    1. Bullshit. If you *did* vote, you can’t bitch.

      The most important reason not to vote is because by voting you’re giving your imprimatur to the winner-takes-all democratic process. Regardless of who you voted for in 2016, you helped elect Donald Trump by implicitly agreeing to be bound by the decision of the majority. Had Hillary been elected, you would have helped elect her as well. Refusing to play the game is the only winning strategy when the name of the game is “Who Wants A Good Ass-Raping?”

      1. You don’t have a choice but to be bound by the outcome.

        What do you suppose you win by not playing? You still have to live under the same president the rest of us do.

        Treating voting, or not voting, as a personal expression of virtue is the fallacy.

        1. I may be bound by the outcome, but I don’t have to choose between Hitler and Stalin.

          1. I may be bound by the outcome, but I don’t have to choose between Hitler and Stalin.

            No one ever has.

            1. I may be bound by the outcome, but I don’t have to choose between Hitler Clinton and Stalin Trump.

              Better?

              1. I didn’t. I voted for Johnson.

                1. Bravo! Nearly a third of the voters in Brazil wish they had a Libertarian option. I made a graph of the Kleptocracy v. NOTA outcomes: https://wp.me/p3K7yc-17fU

              2. Trump has been ok. Far better than anything we’ve had in decades, and is probably getting. Ore done than Rand Paul could have were he elected.

                1. ^Thus spoke the blatant racist (check out his comment history).

                  1. To clarify, Last of the Shitlords is the racist.

                    1. Please don’t forget me as I’m one of those people who doesn’t let a simple word control me or what I say. Racist is a word the left likes to call anyone not in agreement with them. So I am a self appointed race realist and wear my label proudly.

                  2. So…you call him a racist and say his own posts demonstrate this…does that mean you win?

                    Has he ever DONE anything to anyone of another race? Or is it just his opinion of other people, over-generalized and inaccurate, that’s wrong? And should the people he’s racist towards even give a shit?

                    Is it possible there’s racism that falls far short of Nazi genocidal/KKK lynching racism? The automatic de-personing of any one with even a #lizwarrenindianDNA-level of bad opinion about any race seems more strategical than moral.

              3. It’s especially okay not to vote, if you agree with our anti-Troll program and want to see the inappropriate “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated, so-called judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case permanently banned from libraries everywhere in our great nation. See the documentation at:

                https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

              4. With that nickname, you’ve already won.

              5. Those who think that there would be no meaningful differences between Trump’s America and Clinton’s, please write me two or three cogent paragraphs defending that point of view.

            2. What I meant to suggest was that if you continually vote for the lesser evil, you’ll eventually end up choosing between 2 greater evils.

          2. You’re still gonna get one of them though.

            1. The GOp is far better than Lefty socialists.

              1. Indeed. I have to hold my nose to vote for Cathy McMorris-Rodgers anymore, but she is infinitely superior. To the communist, Lisa Brown. Who once was a lapdog economics instructor in. Icaragua for the Sandinista regime. She was also a booster for their policies, which were advanced by their spSoviet supporters. She even advocated retaining their Marxist command economy structure after the Sandinistas got the boot.

                1. Ever considered taking up a hobby, like hard drugs?

                  1. -1, too-cool-4-skool apathy

            2. But the more attrition by consistently ethical spoiler votes bridging the gap, the less likely the surviving cowards are to spit on voters able to express their preferences by voting libertarian. Dry Hope Harrison lost to Grover Cleveland, but the 9% commie vote promptly got an income tax on the books–nevermind that it collapsed the economy and the Supreme Court had to put us out of its misery. The point is that consistent partisan spoiler votes disproportionately changed the laws. The change was for the worse, back then, before Stalin, Hitler, Ceausescu, Pol Pot and Mao proved that socialism means death camps. Thanks to LP spoiler votes, that trend has been reversing for 46 years.

        2. “What do you suppose you win by not playing? You still have to live under the same president the rest of us do.”

          You’re making her point for her: “I can’t think of anything else to do other than voting, so why not? I still get the outcome!”

          Your lack of imagination really doesn’t show anything.

          1. How about do both?

            1. Because that’s not how time works?

          2. Imagination’s got nothing to do with it. Arithmetic shows that spoiler votes are pretty much the ONLY vehicle of change in our Kleptocracy. It took a new party to force protectionist tariffs on the nation in 1860-65. Communist and Prohibitionist partisan votes never got anyone elected and amounted on average to roughly half the vote share gotten by libertarians today. Yet the Prohibition Amendment killed several thousand people before it–combined with the manifesto Income Tax Amendment wrecked the German economy in 1927, and the US economy in 1929, 1933, 1987, and 2007. Men with guns will arrest you over taxes because of 2% spoiler votes gotten in the days of Cleveland, McKinley, Teedy Rosenfeld and Wilson.

        3. What do you suppose you win by not playing? You still have to live under the same president the rest of us do.

          That little bit of extra time not spent pretending like you have a choice. Also, by not registering, you save yourself from all the mail from political parties and candidates. The end result, as far as who takes office, is the same whether you participate or not.

        4. What do you suppose you win by not playing?

          Your panache.

          (You have my respect if you get this reference. Hint: it’s from one of Ayn Rand’s favorite pieces of fiction.)

          1. I have a different idea of elegance. I don’t dress like a fop, it’s true, but my moral grooming is impeccable.

            1. …dude, we’ve raped fratboys. That’s not very well groomed.

            2. Yes…….’grooming’. I’m sure there are a number of thirteen year old boys that can attest to your ‘grooming’ habits Tony.

        5. “Treating voting, or not voting, as a personal expression of virtue is the fallacy”

          Ironic coming from someone views people who vote different from him as evil scum.

          1. Mostly stupid.

        6. Vote N.O.T.A.
          Use the “Write-In” option, vote for yourself.

          No one can represent YOU better than YOU.

          1. It’s a secret, anonymous ballot!

          2. Vote GO over democrat. It better to get rid of Democrat socialism,first.

            1. GOP

      2. Refusing to play the game is the only winning strategy when the name of the game is “Who Wants A Good Ass-Raping?”

        You think you don’t get ass-raped if you don’t participate?

        1. “You think you don’t get ass-raped if you don’t participate?”

          Of course. But if you vote for the ass-rapist isn’t that essentially consent?

          1. But if you vote for the ass-rapist isn’t that essentially consent?

            It will be interpreted that way, yes. As will not voting. But voting for a third party, or leaving the partisan races blank can’t be.

          2. No, and that stupid fucking idea needs to die.

        2. If “winning” means repealing bad laws, then a libertarian vote is about 2 dozen times more “winning” than either of the other cowardly derelictions. If “winning” means being impoverished and murdered by a Republican, while a Democrat could have impoverished or murdered you just as well–or vice-versa–then by opening your mouth you have simply removed all doubt, as the old saying goes.

      3. I didn’t implicitly endorse anyone or any system of government. Read Lysander Spooner. Voting is self-defense. Almost entirely ineffective self-defense, but not an endorsement of the winner or the system.

      4. Not voting means you are willing letting others make all the decisions. The system in this country is a representaive republic and if you chose to not participate that is your choice but you also forfeit your right to bitch about how things are run because you chose to pass on your responsibility.

        1. Vote N.O.T.A.
          Use the “Write-In” option….vote for yourself.

          By doing so indicates you are NOT willing letting others make all the decisions.

          Plus, you are exercising your RIGHT (voting for pre-determined candidates is not a responsibility under a wholly manipulated system).

          Plus it shouts a big FUCK YOU! to the system

          Who can represent YOU better than YOU?

        2. Bullshit!!

          If I choose not to vote I do not surrender my 1st amendment rights!!

          And please, cite me the law or regulation that dictates(!) my responsibility to vote in any election.

          You’re nothing more than a bed wetting SJW.

        3. If “winning” means repealing bad laws, then voting libertarian gets that done with huge spoiler vote leverage. If you say that “winning” means being impoverished or murdered by a Republican while an eager Democrat was just as willing to impoverish or murder you instead, then by opening your mouth you have simply removed all doubt, as the old saying goes.

      5. Regardless whether “Democrat” or “Republican”, the same ultra-wealthy gain ever-more wealth, the same ultra-powerful gain ever-more power.
        Meanwhile, the rest of us continue to lose out to highly under-reported inflation, as we continue to lose ever more rights, freedoms, liberties, and justice.

        The system is completely manipulated & controlled.
        Those secret ruling elite whom control everything with their vast wealth, will not allow a “democratic” system to upend their power and/or capital.
        They will not allow voters to disrupt the system they established.

        VOTE N.O.T.A.
        USE THE “WRITE-IN” OPTION ND VOTE FOR YOURSELF.

        No one will represent YOU better than YOU.

        FUCK THE SYSTEM!

      6. This article is the prime example of how politicians like to Decrease the size of their coalition to get a firmer and more avaricious hold on power. The smaller the number of people you report to, the easier it is to trick, bribe, or threaten them into submission.
        In all the governments and even institutions of the world, the most fair are governed with the largest coalitions. The least fair and most oppressive are governed with the smallest coalitions.
        Convincing people not to vote is purely Machiavellian, as the more you convince to relinquish their little bit of power, the fewer people you actually have to answer to come Election Day.
        This is how dictators rise: the apathy of the governed gives them license.

    2. I’ve voted in probably 60 percent of the major elections (presidential and mid-term) in my life.
      The candidates I’ve preferred have never won, whether I voted or not.
      I reserve the right to complain about the government either way.

      1. The lefty ploy is to discredit the nonlefty vote.

        1. Seeing as democrats won popular but lost electoral vote there is sense to this.

    3. I HEREBY PRESENT A BETTER SOLUTION.
      The “write-in” option.

      I now personally write my name in every write-in selection available.
      My current election allows for write-in’s for every single race, thus I will be my own chosen official for each of those.

      It’s been said that “If we should find ourselves beholden to some other, imagined authority, this can only mean that we have constructed the conditions of our own servitude”.

      Voting for a few pre-determined candidates is like choosing your own rapist.

      Plus, I see this as the ultimate FUCK YOU! to the establishment and wholly corrupted system.

      Imagine if everyone were to do the same.
      Imagine the nightmare for some schmucky bureaucrat having to count tens, hundreds of thousands of different write-in candidates.

      Imagine if 50,000+ people each got 1 vote (from themselves) for the same office.

      THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A DEMOCRACY, NOT A PLUTOCRACY OR OLIGARCHY.
      MAINSTREAM POLITICS IS CONTROLLED BY THE WEALTHY ELITE.

      IT’S TIME FOR “WE, THE PEOPLE” TO RECLAIM GOVERNMENT!

      1. Brilliant. Your solution is no different than the idiot protesters who have been throwing temper tantrums for the past two years

    4. Reason is okay because the majority will vote republican.

      This is the same propaganda that appears when democrats are guaranteed to lose big time. Rock the vote is ditched.

    5. I find it desirable that people whom i disagree refrain from voting. People like PB, AmSoc, Tony, etc..

    6. Horse. Shit. You. Fucking. Imbecile.

      Let me guess: You’re one of those dopes who hear idiotic phrases repeated enough times that you start to believe them. No? Then you’re just a moron.

    7. Horseshit. It’s my freedom to not vote and if I am paying taxes, I am contributing enough to the system to gripe.

    8. I disagree. Even if you do vote you still get to bitch. Especially if the retards elected someone you didn’t want.

      And, while it is perfectly acceptable to not vote, I’d add that, in a general election, if you cannot find at least one single place on the ballot to express your opinion then you either live in the dullest, greatest place on Earth, or you are the retard.

    9. Australians and Brazilians are forced by law to vote.

    10. Of course I can bitch. Actually, I consider the polling place to be the most violent place in existence! It’s where people force their will on others using proxy violence (the guns of the state), all the while believing that they are extremely virtuous in doing so and democracy (mob rule) is righteous and the pinnacle of social order.

    11. Actually, if you don’t vote, you can whine, groan, moan, and complain about the government all you want on any medium of expression you choose. That’s what that “freedom of expression” as elucidated in the Constitution means. Absolutely nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights requires any of your self-expressions to be coherent or consistent or truthful.

      You just can’t expect those of us who have voted to sympathize with you or take you at all seriously. The vast majority of us will interpret your non-voting as laziness and apathetic assent to whatever the election results may bring, and freely mock your complaints accordingly.

  2. >>> true single-vote victory, and that’s in 100 years of congressional races

    due.

  3. “And of course Tim, the hero of the forum who bravely proclaims: “I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety.””

    How is he with changing a tire, though?

    1. With Tim, I finally found someone who fits the meaning of the phrase “waste of skin”.

  4. Let’s just chuck this whole stupid “representative republic” thing and just leave it to an absolute monarch. Like in the good old days.

    The idea that elections are not worth it unless your particular vote decides everything is just so terribly narcissistic as to beggar belief.

    1. The very idea is so galling that you can’t even express a coherent argument against it.

      1. His argument was quite clear. Perhaps you’re just a might dense.

      2. I’m sorry you’re stupud, nut his argument was very coherent. How embarassing for you, especially when you pretend to a level of intellect that you clearly don’t possess.

        That in mind, I will absolutely club you over the head with your failure to understand his very clear point every time I see you.

        Cheers!

    2. It’s also completely stupid when you consider that had Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin gone the other way, Clinton would be our president. The combined total of votes in those three states that gave Trump the edge was 77,744. That’s only 24% of the population of the county I live in. Hell GW became president because of 537 votes in Florida, that’s only 25% of my old high school.

      I’d bet that some of these midterms will have razor thin margins too.

      I understand the argument about voting for the less of two evils, but they are ALL evil, even the third party lunatics. These arguments are really just arguments that we shouldn’t vote at all, which is fine, except that it’s one of the primary reasons we wanted to break up with England.

  5. I get it.

    Philosophical non-voting is valid. I’m not going to insult, harangue or decry anybody who chooses that path.

    For me though, voting is my one little shot at having some tiny effect on how things in the political realm are going. Does my vote statistically have little value, especially as the contests move from local to regional, to state-wide and then Federal? Yes. I know this and do it anyway. Why? Because I am not fine with how things are and want to push things, however slightly, in a more “make-me-happier” direction.

    It’s true that doing things through the market-place has a greater and more immediate and gratifying effect on my life but that does not mean I cannot add to my efforts via the electoral process.

    And so, while I appreciate the arguments for non-voting I will continue to vote.

    1. Also the fewer people that vote, the more my vote is worth. So if you all could stop voting I would appreciate it.

      1. You can do what democrats in Texas do… Sign up people from assisted care facilities for absentee ballots and then increase your vote count.

        1. Also signing up:

          Non voting felons
          Minors
          Illegals
          People already voting in other states
          The cemetery
          The pet cemetery
          Disney characters
          The X-Men

    2. So you’re doing it to feel good.

    3. Your vote absolutely makes an impact. Contact your senator or representative and see them jump.

      Anyone who is active in politics can swing elections, so its worth a politician’s time.

  6. What about not voting because you do not want to be forced to choose between different flavors of authoritarianism?

    I might consider voting when there are candidates put forward who are worth supporting. Especially when you have an entrench two-party system that offers nothing beyond advancing their own team at the expense of the other team, voting for the perceived “the lesser of two evils” actually means voting for more evil.

    1. doesn’t that make you much like the pacifist who is just as guilty of enabaling the authoritarians by your lack of attempt to stop

    2. What about not voting because you do not want to be forced to choose between different flavors of authoritarianism?

      I would still advocate submitting a ballot anyway. Non-votes are not read as protests. They are read as signs of complacency and apathy. Vote on propositions and leave partisan offices blank, or write in candidates if you don’t like the ones on offer.

      1. That is pretty much my strategy

        There are some propositions and a few libertarians on the ballot
        Going with snoop dog as a write in this year

        1. Snoop Dog is a jerk.

      2. Well, yes. Like Congress critters, you basically can vote “present” at your ballot box.

  7. I vote to vote against things and i voted for Cox the republican running against Newsome for governor he is as bad or worse than Hillary and may be the reason I finally leave the state. If it weren’t for the things I try to stop with my vote I wouldn’t have to vote. The only reason I voted in teh last presidential election was hoping to stop Hillary however in Cali my vote is thrown out so why do i bother every dam bond will be passed every dam new animal protection bill will be passed fuck everything i hate gets passed. Hope i don’t sound like those crazies since people are watching

    1. In CA I only vote when I’m actually being given a choice. In these races where we have Democrats vs. Democrats I refuse to vote for either one and I just leave it blank.

      But even that, I think, is important to communicate – “Oh, look – 20M people voted on the ballot propositions, but only 10M voted for Senator while 10M just left it blank. I wonder why?”

      Not voting does not communicate “I’m a sophisticated critic of the current system who has better things to do.” It communicates “I don’t care. Do what you want.”

      1. I agree I did not vote in this senate race since it was between two democrats and for example for school superintendent i have no kids and know nothing of the subject so i did not vote in that race as well.

      2. “I don’t care. Do what you want.”

        fwiw voting communicates the exact same thing.

        1. fwiw voting communicates the exact same thing.

          Actually, it doesn’t.

          1. It does when there is no accountability for politicians who break their campaign promises. Which is most of them.

            1. It does when there is no accountability for politicians who break their campaign promises.

              No, it doesn’t. But not voting does.

              The fact that Trump does and Clinton would have ignored their campaign promises does not change my vote against both of them and for Gary Johnson into an “I don’t care, do what you want” vote. My vote still clearly-in-black-and-white means “I’m not voting for you and don’t support what you’re doing even though I know my guy had no chance to win – that’s how much I hate you.”

              A non-vote clearly screams out “I don’t care what you’re doing enough to take a few hours out of my life to vote,” and it will be interpreted that way.

      3. ” It communicates “I don’t care. Do what you want.””

        Voting communicates “I support your crazy-ass buffoonery”.

        Not voting communicates “Fuck right the hell off”.

        1. Voting communicates “I support your crazy-ass buffoonery”.

          Not when you don’t vote for the crazy-ass buffoons it doesn’t.

          Not voting communicates “Fuck right the hell off”.

          No, it doesn’t. It might mean that to you, but to the political process it means nothing whatsoever.

          1. “Not when you don’t vote for the crazy-ass buffoons it doesn’t”

            One side thinks that dressing up as a bandito is an act of racism, wants to put people in jail for using straws, hits people in the head with bike locks, and thinks that chasing people out of restaurants is an act of high valor. The other side sends fake bombs in the mail, acts as if a few thousand motley Central Americans is an imminent blitzkrieg, and thinks that Donald Trump is a boy genius.

            Please tell me, who are the ones who aren’t crazy-ass buffoons? I got to know.

            1. Shit, I forgot that only Hillary and Trump were on the ballot. How did I manage to -hold my nose and- vote for Gary Johnson then? Man, I must’ve been so high.

              Or you’re just a crazy-ass buffoon.

              My money is on the latter.

            2. Square has the right of this. To you it may signify something other than apathy, but to the elected, and to the overwhelming majority of those voting, it does not signify anything but “meh, I don’t care. Do what you want.”

          1. To whom?

            Exactly.

    2. Rom, you should hope it gets so bad that Trump declares martial law in at least parts of CA and stops those assholes.

      1. we should have a law that more than one party be on the ballot no matter how few votes they get in the primary

  8. Sorry – I’m a huge KMW fan, but saying “there’s no point to voting if your votes don’t win” is unpersuasive.

    She goes on to note that she cares deeply about certain issues, including immigration and reproductive rights, but rightly recognizes that standing in line to vote is not an efficient way to further those causes.

    What exactly would be? Writing blog posts? Going to protests? Aren’t these things intended to influence the way people vote? What good does sitting around in coffee shops expressing strong opinions do anyone if you’re not going to vote and you’re not going to influence anyone’s vote?

    You may as well just damn the whole thing and not pay attention at all. Be like T. S. Eliot and just come out and say you can’t be bothered to participate and would prefer a king.

    And if you don’t like spending four hours standing in line, they have mail-in ballots, dontcha know? Is “I’m afraid of the mail” really a coherent response to this observation?

    I get the argument that voting when you don’t know anything about the candidates or the issues is immoral, but that’s not a good argument for encouraging people who do know things about the candidates and the issues to stay home just because they won’t be the one single individual who gets to decide things for everyone else. Votes work in the aggregate – that’s the whole point.

    1. She goes on to note that she cares deeply about certain issues, including immigration and reproductive rights, but rightly recognizes that standing in line to vote is not an efficient way to further those causes.

      What exactly would be? Writing blog posts? Going to protests?

      How about volunteering in other countries to improve conditions so that people want to stay there or becoming a foster parent? Furthering causes by actually dealing with the problems rather than bitching incessantly while standing around watching the circle-jerk that representative government has become. Seems much more efficient to me.

      1. Furthering causes by actually dealing with the problems rather than bitching incessantly while standing around watching the circle-jerk that representative government has become.

        What if the problem is your overbearing clusterfuck of a government? How hard is it to take a moment to register that you don’t support the shit they’re doing, rather than silently assenting to it? Would that really prevent you from being able to do those other things?

    2. On the upside, it’s nice to know that those “morally superior” city slickers who account for the vast majority of those “islands of blue” in America’s rural “sea of red” have a harder time voting than we “bitter clinger” country bumpkins do; those urban parasites in New York and California have too much power over this country already. It’s nice to know that they’ll be standing in line for hours while my fellow bitter clingers and I can drive or (if our cars should happen to break down) ride a horse or even just plain walk to our local polling station and get a ballot with virtually no waiting.

      Of course, this year, other than one reliably Republican seat in the national House of Representatives, all elections on the ballot in my county are strictly local; but again, it’s nice to know we’ll have an easier time voting than our enemies will.

  9. Where’s the Twitter fight?

  10. Where’s the Twitter fight?

  11. I actually typed and entered that comment twice.

    1. Now the squirrels have started to cover their tracks….

      1. Damn, that’s creepy

  12. “The idea of leaving work, forwarding all of my calls to my phone, to go stand in line for four hours, to probably get called back to work before I even get halfway through the line, sounds terrible,” says Maria, 26. She goes on to note that she cares deeply about certain issues, including immigration and reproductive rights, but rightly recognizes that standing in line to vote is not an efficient way to further those causes.

    This is disappointing. She’s a Koch / Reason left-libertarian like me, but she doesn’t realize the vital importance of voting against the white nationalist Handmaid’s Tale government that Russian hacking installed in 2016. Fortunately most of my friends know better; we cannot wait to vote straight ticket Democrat to create the biggest possible #BlueTsunami!

    1. Maybe the rest of us will luck out as you and most of your friends die in a car crash on the way to vote.

      Na, we could not get that lucky.

    2. Pro tip: when someone says they care about reproductive rights, they’re not talking about the right to reproduce.

    3. “white nationalist Handmaid’s Tale government that Russian hacking installed in 2016”

      Apparently there are a number of children whose parents routinely gave into apoplectic hysteria when the child didn’t want the broccoli.

  13. You’re probably a good person, or at least you try to be. You want to do the right thing.

    You don’t know me.

    1. You’re probably a good person, or at least you try to be. You want to do the right thing.

      Prejudice is never justified.

  14. There are several variations of non-voting that I think have value. I’m not so sure that the “I’m a rebel, I didn’t vote” is really productive. However:

    1) saying that people have died to preserve your freedom to vote. Bull crap. People have died to preserve freedom, I will give you that. But that freedom that you are talking about is also a freedom NOT TO VOTE and not to vote in certain races.

    2) saying, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain is a mindlessly imbecilic argument. Please, you have got to be smarter than this; dirt is. By this ignorant theory, you also could argue that you can’t complain about the person you voted for or you are to blame when the person you voted for does stupid crap.

    #) It is OK to vote, but not in every race. In most cases, every candidate in every race is not a complete loser.

  15. Personally I’d rather take one of my rifles to the range and practice voting “no.” It’s a more productive use of my time.

  16. And yet Libertarians constantly complain about their candidates not being elected …. at the same time they pontificate on how useless the act of voting is.

    1. Surely there’s no connection between those things.

  17. Just because a single vote never decided a Presidential race doesn’t mean your vote doesn’t matter on local elections, or issues. I love that Reason simultaneously writes articles about how Libertarians candidates and their small percentage of votes “matter”, but you shouldn’t vote because it “doesn’t matter”. If you don’t want to vote, fine, but you might as well go live under a dictator, because you’ve abdicated any responsibility or control over how you are governed. It’s narcissistic to bitch about *your* vote not getting to decide exactly how the country gets run.

    1. “It’s narcissistic to bitch about *your* vote not getting to decide exactly how the country gets run.”

      More or less narcissistic than saying that your vote is worth more if someone else doesn’t vote?

      1. More or less narcissistic than saying that your vote is worth more if someone else doesn’t vote?

        More. Saying that your vote is worth more if someone else doesn’t vote is a statement of mathematical reality.

    2. Not really — it’s an alternative proposal for better government: everyone SHOULD get to live under the government they vote for. No reason to give a monopoly over everyone to the government with plurality support. It’s an outdated concept and horribly inefficient, not to mention immoral.

      1. Cool story.

        Where will we send the folks that didn’t vote? We kind of ran out of frontiers to exile folks to.

  18. Pete Van Heuten: Lemme guess, uncle didn’t vote?

    Charlie Arglist: He said he didn’t want to encourage the bastards.

  19. If there is no Libertarian or independent candidate on the ballot that aligns with my beliefs, I skip that vote. Voting for a Democrat or Republican is unacceptable and something I will never do. Neither of them deserve to be in power, given their past (in)actions.

    1. If there is no Libertarian or independent candidate on the ballot that aligns with my beliefs, I skip that vote.

      ^ This. Nothing says “fuck off” like submitting a filled-in ballot that actively expresses no support for the available candidates.

      A non-vote is not an act of protest. It’s simply a non-act.

  20. The ONLY purpose behind this cartooney article, is Reason hopes less votes cast may be seen as an opening for the libertarian fringe.

  21. Dropped off my ballot in the mail this morning. Thank you Washington State for making it easy. I pity those of you who have to stand in line.

    1. In my Georgia county, we have so many voting precincts I wait in line for 1 minute. We even have early voting, so the Democrats find out immediately on election night how bad they are losing. Absentee ballots are not counted until after election day.

  22. If you think about it, low turnout elections (and I’m talking low to the point of some local elections) are the only scenario in which third party candidates have a chance to be elected into office. Your vote would mean so much more.

    1. the primaries are always low turnout elections. yet third party types seem unable to grasp this and execute on it.

  23. Vote or don’t vote.
    You’re free to bitch either way.
    But unless you’re taking up arms and withholding taxes, you’re not accomplishing beyond personal satisfaction anything by not voting.
    And personal satisfaction is just fine.
    Conflating personal satisfaction via non-voting to some sort of meaningful public action that’s cause for others to follow, or confusing voting/non-voting with consent/non-consent, is… silly.

  24. Not sure about any other state, but here in AZ, if you leave a particular race blank, it counts as no vote.

    If you want to lodge a protest vote, write something in.

    1. If you want to lodge a protest vote, write something in.

      We’re no longer allowed to do that for state races in CA. But if enough people leave enough races blank, it will be clear in the vote totals that that’s what happened.

      1. Ah yes, a side effect of the “top two” system in CA?

  25. I vote straight party libertarian so the big two can both see that they left a vote on the table.

    Except for Ted Cruz. Can’t wait to tell all the local Beto mommies that I voted for Ted.

  26. Libertarians: standing on the sidelines crowing smugly about being on the high ground.

    1. If everyone else is in the gutter, I’m automatically on the high ground.

    2. You’re mixing your metaphors.

  27. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    Theodore Roosevelt

    Nonvoters = that sad ass critic he’s lambasting

  28. Is an individual decision whether to vote likely to have any impact? No, probably not.

    Is writing a piece, to be read by thousands of people, essentially encouraging them not to vote, likely to have an impact? It certainly could. If anyone read this shitty website.

    1. It’s a website aimed at people who think for themselves. We skip the articles and go to the comments mostly.

      1. Yup.
        Sometimes I skim the articles.
        If its Harsanyi, I’ll read it (but he’s had like 2 here in as many months – Chapman they publish all the fn time, and definitely not reading that garbage).
        The commentary is very good here. Nice mix of perspectives. I found the 14th amendment discussion very informative

  29. I have proudly never voted.

  30. The walk to the polls is a pleasant one. I hand in my ballot, where I voted against the local candidates whom the public sector unions endorsed. If I had to wait in line, it wouldn’t be worth it, but I’m just handing in my paper ballot, so no problem.

    I almost didn’t vote in the first election when I was eligible, but my cute friend convinced me to do it. I waited in line with her for two hours. Yes, a waste of time, but I wasted way more hours in college on even stupider things.

    Punchline: I pulled the Democrat lever! (It was 1984.)

  31. Election Season poll:

    What will be the best part of Election Day 2018?

    ___ House Democrats get subpoena power

    ___ Split Senate

    ___ Mueller Time begins in earnest?

    ___ Ted Cruz squeaker indicates Texas has turned purple

    1. ___ Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland’s $20 bonus from his handlers for being Troll of the Month.

      1. ___ Watching “Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland’s” head explode when “bitter clingers” trounce their supposed “moral superiors” at the ballot box.

    2. I vote for Mueller Time. The immediate goal of the progressive / libertarian alliance is to reverse the fraudulent results of the hacked election of 2016. And I’m counting on Robert Mueller to finish his exemplary career in public service by presenting ironclad proof of Russian collusion. I predict Putin’s Puppet will be removed from office by this time next year.

      #ItsMuellerTime
      #TrumpRussia
      #Impeach
      #Resist

      PS ? I also predict Beto will beat Cruz. Recent polling has the race a statistical tie, which means Beto has the momentum.

      #LibertariansForBeto

      1. Beto had a lot of momentum in 1988, too:

        State and local police reports obtained by the Chronicle and Express-News show that O’Rourke was driving drunk at what a witness called “a high rate of speed” in a 75 mph zone on Interstate 10 about a mile from the New Mexico border. He lost control and hit a truck, sending his car careening across the center median into oncoming lanes. The witness, who stopped at the scene, later told police that O’Rourke had tried to drive away from the scene.

        Police reports detail Beto O’Rourke’s 1998 DWI arrest

        1. Drunken Irish fuck

        2. I thought his name was Robert Francis O’Rourke. Is Beto a nickname his mom gave him, or something along those lines? It’s difficult for me to take someone seriously who uses their nickname in place of their real name in professional dealings. I probably wouldn’t take seriously a Skippy Jones, or Sweet Cheeks Malone either.

      2. Delirious and in denial..

  32. I like voting but hate voting for a dozen offices and a gazillion judges. What the fuck do I care which Democrat becomes lieutenant governor? Why is there even a lieutenant governor? Fuck off.

  33. I know someone who put his “I voted” stickers on his toilet, to serve as a constant reminder of the destination of his vote, even if it got “counted” among thousands of other votes for various ridiculous candidates.

  34. Another one.

    And all because 50%+1 isn’t fair.

    Well, we’ve tried the alternatives. Lots of them.

    They REALLY suck.

    REALLY.

    Until something better comes along, why not say so?

    What act as if doing nothing can magically fix things the way you do.

    And, here’s the worst thing–until you can get 50%+1 of the people to agree with you there’s not a damned thing you can do. But you try. Because you want them to vote, by their actions, for what you want.

  35. To vote, or not to vote…..
    I’ve struggled with this question since my first becoming of voting age.

    On the one hand, voting in the currently completely corrupted system is much like choosing your own rapist.

    On the other hand, not voting is like allowing yourself to become a merely passive spectator in the wholly entertainment nature of politics.

    Much like choosing pre-determined candidates, backed by the ultra-wealthy & elitist establishment, all of whom are likely just shills of the manipulated & controlled system, the choice of whether to vote or not is often a lose-lose situation.

    I HEREBY PRESENT A BETTER SOLUTION.
    The “write-in” option.

    I now personally write my name in every write-in selection available.
    My current election allows for write-in’s for every single race, thus I will be my own chosen official for each of those.

    It’s been said that:
    “If we should find ourselves beholden to some other, imagined authority, this can only mean that we have constructed the conditions of our own servitude”.

    Plus, I see this as the ultimate FUCK YOU! to the establishment and wholly corrupted system.

    Imagine if everyone were to do the same.
    Imagine the nightmare for some schmucky bureaucrat having to count tens, hundreds of thousands of different write-in candidates.

    Imagine if 50,000+ people each got 1 vote (from themselves) for the same office.

    IT’S TIME FOR “WE, THE PEOPLE” TO RECLAIM GOVERNMENT!

  36. If you agree with this article, please do not vote. You are an idiot and the country is better off if you dont vote.

  37. Sure, it is fine not to vote. It is fine to vote too. Either way.

    But perhaps a better strategy, instead of not voting, or *only* voting, is to get involved in all the legwork that goes in to getting some initiative or some candidate put on the ballot in the first place. That type of work is far more cost effective, in terms of influencing the result of an election, because just by working to get a candidate/initiative on the ballot, your effort is multiplied by all of the thousands and thousands (and more!) votes that your cause does receive from voters. There is not going to be any Libertarian Savior, it really is up to us to set things straight with our efforts.

    1. I have to say, for once, that you make a good point

  38. “Eh, fuck it. 2% is good enough for the Libertarian party I guess.” –Reason.com, 2018

  39. I will vote when they put ”None of the above” on the ballot.
    I refuse to vote for either Shit Sandwich or Giant Douche.

  40. I keep going back and forth on whether I should bother voting next Tuesday. I live in a solidly blue district and Tim Kaine will most certainly be re-elected senator. There is a libertarian senate candidate and I have thought that voting for him will make it worth my time, because if he gets enough votes, it might have an impact, but in reality will be ignored since he won’t come close to the DeRps vote totals. If I can be sure I won’t have to wait in line more than a few minutes, I will consider voting, otherwise fuck it-I have better things to do with my time.

  41. Is this how a former Weekly Standard reporter tries to convince herself that she can be a decent person despite being associated with the cause of race-targeting voter suppression? By arguing — as part of an attempt to convince herself — that none of those suppressed votes would have mattered?

    Carry on, clingers So far as your betters permit, anyway.

  42. My primary rationale for voting is to vote “no” on school bonds every year.

    I wish I could get a yard sign.

  43. I always vote straight libertarian, kind-a like not voting at all, I guess…

  44. This article is idiotic.

    Higher vote percentages influence media attention. If (for example) a libertarian candidate does surprisingly well, that is likely to improve media coverage of libertarians in the future.

    Also, being on the ballot means you get a lot more attention for your opinions — but your party won’t be on the ballot in the future if they don’t get enough votes!

    But here we have a libertarian telling other libertarians “don’t vote”. Truly idiotic.

  45. This article is idiotic.

    Higher vote percentages influence media attention. If (for example) a libertarian candidate does surprisingly well, that is likely to improve media coverage of libertarians in the future.

    Also, being on the ballot means you get a lot more attention for your opinions — but your party won’t be on the ballot in the future if they don’t get enough votes!

    But here we have a libertarian telling other libertarians “don’t vote”. Truly idiotic.

  46. This article/ opinion piece is cynical bullshit that takes a lazy ass “I don’t matter so why bother” approach to living in a democratic/ constitutional republic. Of note is that there is absolutely nothing offered as an alternative, which would most likely be default if we all just stayed home. That would truly give us a tyranny of our overlords. They would no longer even have to pretend to treat us as important and just choose among themselves as to who gets to rule. Which would no doubt result in armed camps and open warfare.

    Again, the most stupid, insipid, feckless, and absolutely worthless POS I’ve read in a while.

    1. That would truly give us a tyranny of our overlords. They would no longer even have to pretend to treat us as important and just choose among themselves as to who gets to rule.

      This is pretty much what they do anyway-unless you can write a huge check to your politician’s campaign, you might as well not exist.

      Which would no doubt result in armed camps and open warfare.

      You have it backwards-there would only be armed camps and open warfare if our political class felt truly threatened.

      1. So which do you prefer?

      2. So which do you prefer? My preference is to not stay at home, or run errands, with my head up my ass.

  47. There are only two effective ways to vote. 1) with a pen. 2) with a rifle. The first is preferable, the second is more effective but should be reserved til the ink runs out.

    A non vote is what it is.

    1. Libertarians for murdering people who disagree with you for peace!

      1. Til the ink runs out is clearly referring to when the government decends into tyranny and the ballot box doesn’t work for better or worse.

    2. Those are not the only options: you can also vote 3) with your money and 4) with your feet (or, to be more precise, with a rented moving van). Money and mobility don’t get as much media hype as the ballot and bullet options, but they’re quite effective at undermining both elected and unelected tyrants. If you don’t like what Disney’s executives are doing with the Star Wars franchise or Pixar’s animated movies or Marvel’s Cinematic Universe or whatever, you can vote against it by going to its competitors’ movies in the theater or just staying home and watching movies borrowed from the local library instead. If you don’t like what deep-blue California is doing to itself, you can sell your house to any idiot who does like what deep-blue California is doing to itself and move to any other state (though you shouldn’t expect any red states to roll out the welcome wagon for you, since they’ll suspect you of being another Californicator come to wreck their state).

  48. If voting mattered so little, there wouldn’t be so many people trying to convince others to not do it.

  49. Considering that historically Republicans have a higher turnout in midterms
    this sounds like a Liberal voter trying to depress the Republican turnout.

  50. The only argument I don’t buy is “Opportunity cost.” I voted early, and it took me all of an extra ten minutes out of my day to vote (including driving to the polls).

    1. Indeed. I understand people nowdays lead busy lives…an unconvinced much, if any, of that activity is more important than voting. Even if we assign voting an importance of near 0.

  51. Last night, I stood in front of two classes of almost 60 college students, seniors, a large majority of them are immigrants, or children of immigrants. They are PROUD to call themselves “First Gens” and PROUD to call themselves “American” and “Citizen.” What I said to them is this: “If you are eligible to vote, please vote. American doesn’t work if you don’t vote.”

    Voting is the most important thing in the world – no matter how uninformed, misguided or vengeful the electorate is. America doesn’t work if we don’t vote.

    At the very least, your article is insulting to the millions of people who have come to this country to vote, and whose children could be voting for the fist time. What the hell is wrong with you?

  52. Last night, I stood in front of two classes of almost 60 college students, seniors, a large majority of them are immigrants, or children of immigrants. They are PROUD to call themselves “First Gens” and PROUD to call themselves “American” and “Citizen.” What I said to them is this: “If you are eligible to vote, please vote. American doesn’t work if you don’t vote.”

    Voting is the most important thing in the world – no matter how uninformed, misguided or vengeful the electorate is. America doesn’t work if we don’t vote.

    At the very least, your article is insulting to the millions of people who have come to this country to vote, and whose children could be voting for the fist time. What the hell is wrong with you?

  53. I suspect similar arguments were made in the later years of the Weimar Republic.

  54. I tend to distill it down to this: If you want me to vote, give me someone worth voting for. My litmus test is simple. Someone who actually gives a crap about the country and believes in a constitutional republic. Actually having read the Constitution is a plus.

  55. Mangu-Ward is an Anarchist. But nowhere is anarchism mentioned, yet that’s the philosophical basis of this whole disingenuous screed.

    First things first: Your vote is wildly, insanely, hugely unlikely to influence the outcome of an election. No presidential election has ever been decided by a single vote.

    What a simultaneously dumb and creepy suggestion. Dumb, because total votes matter and individual votes contribute to the total, and creepy because Mangu-Ward takes the role of the trickster, advancing weak arguments for credulous minds. That’s right. It’s pointless. Let others determine civic affairs. Look away. Oh, and: Anarchy Rulez!

    I’m sure the small, individual donations to Reason, and the small, individual subscriptions all add up to provide a nice cash flow to pay Katherine Mangu-Ward’s salary. And one lost subscriber wouldn’t matter, would it? No, but several thousand would. It would all make sense then, eh?

    This is simply a call not to vote for Trump.

  56. A bunch of clueless millennials not voting? Awesome! Keep up the good work, Mr. Mangu-Ward.

    1. Yes, because age determines intelligence. I might assume you’re just a babe then.

  57. Sorry, Ms.
    My autocorrect is a sexist bastard.

  58. Sure it’s OK not to vote. Cuz they will sell your info to Collection Agency’s if you have outstanding debt. Which they did to me last time I voted!

  59. Does this country mean anything to us? 5 Amendments were passed around the right to vote in our constitution. Many fathers & mothers, sons & daughters believed in and loved our country so much they fought and lost their life to protect our unique values for all of us. And we have the nerve to say It’s Ok Not To Vote – Bullshit! Don’t let someone’s death go in vain when they loved our country more than someone who wouldn’t vote.

    1. She’s an anarchist. What do you expect? No state. No politics. No voting.

      It’s why the tone of Reason these days is barely-disguised anarchism.

      1. Funny how “anarchists” never actually seem to know what real anarchy is like. Real anarchy never lasts because it’s a power vacuum anyone who can get any power will rapidly rush to fill. In a real state of anarchy, the anarchists themselves are among the first to be enlisted, enslaved, or slaughtered when the new local warlords roll into town; mostly slaughtered, since the vast majority of self-proclaimed anarchists are useless as anything other than dog food.

        1. Yeah, and the hubris on display is staggering. How often do we read that the the type of individuals who make up an anarchist society will not be the types to abuse the non-initiation of force principle? The daft assumptions inherent in that belief is akin to a religious dogma.

          It’s the kind of credulity and stupidity you’d expect from children who’ve never been exposed to the real world. Anarchists are utopians no less than the communists of old who believed in the state fading away to leave a society of noble communitarians.

  60. No, it’s not ok not to vote…unless you are going to vote for tax and spend socialist…or a war-mongering autocrat who thinks he/she knows how I should live my life better than I do. Then, don’t vote.

    Seriously, why are you suggesting this here?? Go on MSNBC, CNN or Fox and tell THEM it’s OK not to vote.

    We need to encourage people who are drawn to the content of Reason to get involved in the political process. We need their passion and energy now as much if not more than ever.

    So, go pedal Don’t Vote someplace else!

    Otherwise, I love your thoughts! Keep ’em coming!

  61. The author of this tripe is editor-in-chief at Reason? Christ on a crutch. No wonder the quality of their articles is in a death spiral.

  62. What a silly article. I just hope I’m too stupid to discern the satire. Of course voting matters – that’s how we’ve arrived at the dreadful place we are now. People voted for gerrymandering, for corporate tax cuts, for an insane healthcare policy, for discrimination, for an inadequate response to natural disasters, for a bloated military fighting endless that kill and maim our young as well as the people of distant lands. Et cetera, et cetera ad nauseum.

    1. Actually, nobody votes for any of that shit, not even the fucking Rs and Ds who create the ever-expanding, overlapping, multitudinous congeries of government agencies. They don’t vote for the corruption, though I’m sure they’re aware of the baked-in “we need more money” dynamic endemic to all such governmental efforts.

      All THAT shit just happens because government reliably does one thing: Governs poorly. There aren’t enough honest people, people with integrity, to staff and manage all the government departments, agencies, task forces, commissions, bureaus, and authorities that are set up, and to be honest, Congress isn’t really looking for them.

      Many years ago, my brother and I wanted to start up the TATBO Party (Throw All The Bastards Out…from my fathers’ hard won assessment of his representation). I still use that as a general guideline: Libertarian where possible, against the incumbent if you know who it is, and against whomever you are most familiar with if you don’t.

      If enough millions followed this, it would certainly reduce the effectiveness of big money contributions, giant campaign war chests and expensive consultants/power brokers.

      So yeah, vote, early and often.

    2. Actually, nobody votes for any of that shit, not even the fucking Rs and Ds who create the ever-expanding, overlapping, multitudinous congeries of government agencies. They don’t vote for the corruption, though I’m sure they’re aware of the baked-in “we need more money” dynamic endemic to all such governmental efforts.

      All THAT shit just happens because government reliably does one thing: Governs poorly. There aren’t enough honest people, people with integrity, to staff and manage all the government departments, agencies, task forces, commissions, bureaus, and authorities that are set up, and to be honest, Congress isn’t really looking for them.

      Many years ago, my brother and I wanted to start up the TATBO Party (Throw All The Bastards Out…from my fathers’ hard won assessment of his representation). I still use that as a general guideline: Libertarian where possible, against the incumbent if you know who it is, and against whomever you are most familiar with if you don’t.

      If enough millions followed this, it would certainly reduce the effectiveness of big money contributions, giant campaign war chests and expensive consultants/power brokers.

      So yeah, vote, early and often.

  63. I won’t waste my time voting, but for those of you who have fooled yourselves into thinking your vote matters, here is what I think you should do:
    When Republicans control both houses and the executive branch, they just run amok with spending and wars on everything and everyone to an extent that the Democrats can only envy. They behave much better when they’re not in complete control, otherwise they just steal Democrat ideas like Obama Care, renaming it Trump Care, and declaring victory. We need to just pinch our noses shut and vote for Democrats when it’s strategically necessary, only voting for Libertarians when there is more of the political balance known as gridlock.

  64. “Your vote is wildly, insanely, hugely unlikely to influence the outcome of an election.”

    Really?

    If all the 65,844,610 people who voted for Clinton and the 62,979,636 who voted for Trump bought into that nonsensical advice, America would have been without a president and vice president after the 2016 election.

    If Mangu-Ward had advocated that NO ONE under the age of 25 be allowed to vote, she’d have made sense. It’s established medical science that the human brain does not mature until around that age.

    1. Seriously. We really should raise the voting age to 25 or 30. With no draft, there’s not much real excuse anymore for 18. If that single change happened, politics would shift conservative/libertarian by several several points. It’s crazy how EVERY SINGLE GENERATION shifts away from the left when they get real life experience… That age limit alone perpetually gives the left several points more than they should have… And those lunatics are talking about lowering it to 16 because they know they’re even more daft than 18 year olds!

      1. Agree about the minimum voting age of 25. When you start having to help pay for all existing government programs, much less new, even more insane ones proposed by idiots like Bernie Sanders, your perspective drastically changes.

  65. Ridiculous argument.

    First, it would be GREAT if certain types of people with certain types of views didn’t vote… But they do. The saner people, like the ones that read Reason, are EXACTLY the kind of people who need to vote. No individual vote typically matters, but en masse the will of the people (for good or ill!) is shown.

    The enthusiasm gap alone can swing an election, and often does. If every person that has strongly libertarian leaning tendencies voted 100% of the time, that WOULD shift the candidates that made it through primaries and into general elections more libertarian. Such folks might even get elected! Our little couple percent of the population could easily swing a primary from a John McCain sort to a Ron Paul sort in the Republican party.

    Also, sign up to vote by mail yo! I’ve never had to vote in person in my life, because Washington state does it all by mail. But most states that do in person voting still allow many people to sign up to vote by mail. I took all of a couple minutes to fill out my ballot earlier tonight. I probably won’t be THE single vote that shoots down the awful carbon tax, or gun law that’s on the ballot… But I’m praying enough other people with common sense took the time to fill their ballots out too. Otherwise my energy prices are going to sky rocket, economic growth will be stunted, and my 2A rights will be trampled upon. I also voted for mostly Libertarians too to poke a stick in the R/Ds eyes!

    VOTE LIBERTARIANS, VOTE!

    1. You do that. As for me, I’m going to vote solid Republican in order to stab the treasonous totalitarian terrorist thugs’ stalking-horse party of “bake that cake for the Christian-hating sodomites and genital-mutilating delusion-dwellers or we sue you” and “throw open the borders to bring in more welfare state leeches i.e. Marxist voters” and Presumption of Guilt in its eyes.

      If you’re actually a part of that “Libertarian” Party and support its new Communazi planks, however, you should definitely follow Katherine Mangu-Ward’s advice not to vote.

  66. “The idea of leaving work, forwarding all of my calls to my phone, to go stand in line for four hours, to probably get called back to work before I even get halfway through the line, sounds terrible,” says Maria, 26.

    If you’re waiting in line for 4 hours, that’s on your state for providing far, far too few polling places. Voting should take 30 mins or less.

  67. Couldn’t disagree more. If you are looking for libertarian purity it will guaranty that no libertarian ideas will enter the public discourse. If there is not a libertarian leaning candidate from the major parties vote for the libertarian. If they keep drawing less than 1% of the vote again you will get no libertarian ideas. If such candidates start drawing 3-4% it will be enough to influence elections and policy. Over 5% at least a small place at the table.
    Or do as the author suggests stay home and let the political establishment continue to take your freedom and money until they have it all.

  68. This is probably the lamest article I have ever read. Reason must be hurting for contributors.

  69. KMW carefully elides mention of spoiler vote leverage. In the 1972 election only the Libertarian Party offered an alternative to Dixiecrat coathanger abortion laws. The LP surprised everyone with a plank to keep men with guns away from physicians and women unhappily pregnant, and got nearly 4000 popular votes and 01 unignorable electoral vote. The Supreme Court had been listening to “Libby” linebarger of Austin arguing that women should have individual rights uninfringed by male legislators. The Roe v. Wade decision added a week to the LP’s proposed King’s X on coercion and bad laws were struck down like dominos here and in Canada. Each of those 4000 libertarian votes packed the law-changing wallop of 10,000 votes wasted by abstention or by cowardly sanction of the Kleptocracy. Do the arithmetic. The Kleptocracy ignores anyone getting less than about half the votes cast by “either” side. Four times 10EE7 is 40 million votes, close to half of what the “winning” and “losing” politicians got via Nixon’s subsidies. So those nearly 4000 votes enforced individual rights for women in These States, and the precedent soon abolished ALL laws against birth control in Canada too. Failure to vote Libertarian is dereliction that undermines individual rights here and abroad.

    1. Real libertarians don’t murder babies: past the age of 3 months from conception, a child has a functioning nervous system. If the mother allows the child to become a person, she becomes responsible for its life. Unless you believe in abortion until age of 18, all less than fully developed people who require parents to survive, both in or out of the womb, deserve the same right not to be killed.

      1. Yes, well, the baby butchers of the “Libertarian” party aren’t libertarians.

  70. Libertarians shouldn’t vote: they either vote for the libertarian party that’s been infiltrated by neo-cons, or they vote Republican as the lesser of two evils – except that when they have control, they are even worse than the Democrats. If anything, pretending a single vote can change anything or that an individual can vote as a collective, they should always vote for gridlock. In the coming election, that means they should vote Democrat – unless they are smart enough to find something productive to do with their time.

  71. This is an incredibly lazy argument to support that it is okay to not vote.

  72. Further confirmation that Libertarians are, if not 100% bat-guano crazy, are well to one side of the curve.

  73. I didn’t read all the way through the comments, but to this point I’ve not seen the best reasons to not vote:

    1) Apoplexy/hysterical reaction – a complete loss of perspective that informs certain people that anyone they don’t like is ACTUALLY Hitler, anything they don’t like is either communism or fascism, and that the appropriate response is screaming, breaking shit, or attacking someone.

    2) Anyone who has recently accused [or thought of] anyone else of being someone they aren’t, more specifically, Hitler, Stalin, Satan, or Antichrist. You aren’t acting as a rational human being. And please, stop watching whatever TV show you’re watching, because that’s where that shit starts.

    3) Anyone who thinks the entire purpose of the Constitution is to guarantee their right to other people’s shit, or that free speech means a right to break other people’s shit.

    4) The only thing you know about any of the candidates comes from FB memes, the other guy’s campaign commercial, yard signs, or a bumper sticker.

    5) Anyone who thinks their job is “raising awareness”. STFU and go do something important…. or at least get a hobby because right now you’re wasting oxygen.

  74. The first election I ever ran in, I lost by 1 (one) vote…

    So at least on the local level every vote counts

    1. In fact, as occasionally demonstrated in local elections, it is possible to run unopposed and lose. Though I can’t find a link to the article, I even remember reading in the 1990s (when I was a teenager) about a guy in some small town up in New Hampshire (I think) who ran unopposed and lost because he was too lazy even to vote for himself!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.