Vote.

OurVoiceOurVote_logoTwo American professors in France could only vote at the Presidential election by making a four hour round trip. One was Republican, one Democrat, so they could have agreed not to vote, as their votes would cancel each other out; yet they made that trip together.

This helps me understand why voting is important: by voting, I honour those who have made it possible for me. The UK has not yet been a democracy for a century- a fifth of the adult population eligible to vote is no democracy- so it behoves me to vote, just as I would undertake jury duty. I participate in the national conversation.

It does not particularly matter if I get my vote correct. I care, and I want the best representatives, but if I get it wrong my mistake is corrected by my peers. It is a group responsibility, and I may rely on the group. Yet I should take my part in that group decision, as without my contribution it has less value.

In a state of apathy, where few vote, we may have poorer quality representatives, who feel less scrutinised. Yet I have heard that in the local council elections there is a reduction in the number and quality of candidates. Who wants to be elected to enforce the cuts ComeOutVoteLogo-300x293in spending imposed by central government? Not voting is a possible protest. Yet-

in voting I claim my part in my society.

I want you to vote, and I wish to persuade you by appealing to “honour” or “duty”- emotive words rather than reasoned. Arguably as your vote by itself makes almost no difference at all, there is no point in any particular person voting- yet, because if none of us voted we might lose the ability, it is beholden on us (yes, I know) to vote. It seems to me that votes for UKIP, the racist party which racists can kid themselves is not shameful, will do genuine harm, and yet democracy is a conversation and a process, and that harm will be corrected as people come to see it.

A benevolent dictator might be better than democracy, but as none has ever been found, democracy is the least worst option.

28 thoughts on “Vote.

  1. Their votes may well have counted unless they were both registered in the same voting district. A single vote might win a GOP vote for that district in the electoral college and the DEM vote might not have been enough in the other district. In a head count vote, you’d be right about them canceling each other out. The murikun way is odd…

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    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Welcome, James, and thank you for commenting. I am delighted to have you here. I recommend your blog for your perspective, and wish you would write more there. It is striking to read how backward Pennsylvania is, I thought, but it’s in the North East!

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      • Aw thank you. Yes, you’d be surprised what kind of people I run into here. I just read a funny blog post about Pennsylvania the other day that said, “The two major metropolitan areas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, are basically the liberal bookends holding the rest of the more rural, conservative state in place. Presumably to keep it from spreading.” I thought it was very accurate. And as of Tuesday, we became the last state in the Northeast to pass Marriage Equality.

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  2. The argument that there is no point voting because ‘what difference can I make?’ is the same argument that it put forward by careless people who litter the environment – ‘we have so many problems, how will my recycling make a difference?’ – but it does. Morally, socially, privately.

    And – if you believe in the ‘hundred monkey’ scenario – which I do – it only takes a small number of participants – to achieve worldwide change. That feels very powerful.

    Thanks, Clare. I have voted. xxx ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • Oh wow. The Hundredth monkey.

      I noticed the BNP slogan on the ballot paper: “We can make Britain better” or “for a Better Britain” or something. They are still very nasty indeed, but trying to sell Hope rather than just fear and resentment shows just the slightest improvement.

      xxx โค

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  3. I think I’m a little too late for a postal vote. And I can’t hop up the polling station so I won’t – sadly – be voting. However I will natter Partner to go and do his civic and personal duty, however flawed the political parties are. Least worst?

    Gib is in the south west region of the UK. Odd. We received four leaflets. The Greens did not mention Gib. The other three had printed Gib specific leaflets, ie with change pages. At least they had made the effort. And that includes UKIP. Apparently they claim 30% of proposed vote. We’ll see.

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  4. Ah! I very much agree with this and may use some of your words in similar conversations I have with people here on the same topic.

    I always vote. I believe it’s my responsibility as a citizen to do so. I always take my kids with me when I vote so they see the process – even at their young age – and understand that it is something you do.

    When large numbers don’t vote (which is the case with voter turnout here, particularly at the municipal level) then we let those who do decide who runs things.

    And the demographics who don’t vote (the poor and youth are a good example) are constituencies that could certainly use a voice in government.

    I appreciate that with a First Past the Post System (I’m in Canada – same as the British system for the Commons) sometimes my vote doesn’t “count” in that the election in my riding is sometimes pretty much a foregone conclusion before the race starts.

    But I still vote. You never know when your vote might be the difference.

    That said, we are in a provincial election at the moment here whose outcome is in no way certain. So this time around I certainly feel my vote matters.

    Timely post.

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    • To use some of my words is the most wonderful compliment. Thank you.

      Voting for a candidate who loses has some value in FPTP: the journalists here talk of percentages of the vote, and you add to that; in a marginal constituency you might not want the sitting member or their closest rival. You speak up.

      Euro results on Sunday.

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      • Here are the East Midlands results, with five MEPs allocated by the d’Hondt method:
        First consider the total, then the number halved, then a third, then a quarter if necessary:
        Two MEPs from UKIP 368,734 (184,367; 122,911)
        Two MEPs are Conservative 291,270 (145,635; 97090)
        One MEP is Labour 279,363 (138,681; 93121)
        Green 67,066
        LD 60,773
        Why should the Tories get a second seat? Because half of their vote, at 145,635, is comfortably more than a third of UKIP’s vote, or half of Labour’s vote, or the Green vote. Arguably, here one vote does not matter. If the Tory vote was the same, UKIP would have needed 68,172 more votes to get one more MEP: because then a third of their vote would have been 145,635.3333, and that third of a vote would have got a third UKIP MEP leaving the Tories with one. Or, if Labour had had 11,908 more votes, it would have had one more vote than the Tories, and would have had two MEPs. Had half the LD voters voted Green rather than LD, there would be a Green MEP rather than a second Conservative.

        At the time of writing, Scotland’s result has not been announced because the sixth MEP could either go to UKIP or be the third on the SNP list. Two SNP, two Labour and one Conservative are clearly elected. Update: the last MEP went clearly to UKIP rather than a third for the SNP.

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