Surprised by Election Day? Please Don’t Vote!

Comments 21
This is the face I make at Get Out The Vote campaigns. So, let me get this straight: You have no idea what any of these candidates or ballot initiatives will actually do if voted for? Well! Step right in to this voting booth!
This is the face I make at Get Out The Vote campaigns. So, let me get this straight: You have no idea what any of these candidates or ballot initiatives will actually do if voted for? Well! Step right in to this voting booth!

Facebook and Google and McDonald’s and a bunch of other large, influential organizations are encouraging Americans to get out and vote today.

I have a slightly different point of view.

If it took Facebook or Google or McDonald’s or an “I Voted” sticker on someone’s shirt to remind you today was Election Day, then I submit you should just carry on as usual.

Nothing to see here.

I despise “Get Out The Vote” campaigns.

If the point is to engage people in thoughtful conversation about how to make things better and how the political process might contribute to that… great!

But I don’t think the morning of Election Day is going to give people quite enough time to get up to speed.

Everyone’s seen the videos of random TV guy walking up to people on the street and asking them who Joe Biden or the current Secretary of State is, right?

They always find a bunch of people who can’t name the current vice president of the United States or the guy who got 50 percent of the votes in the 2004 presidential election.

It makes us laugh and terrifies us all at the same time.

And it begs the question: Why do we want those people casting ballots on Election Day?

Unless you’re a dirtbag, piece-of-shit election fraud operative trying to game the system and prey on ignorance, what is the benefit of totally uninformed people blindly marking ballots? Or WORSE, voting a certain way just because someone told them to?

Why are we shaming people into voting? I don’t like apathy in the sense that so many people take for granted the many freedoms granted to U.S. citizens. Only four out of 10 eligible voters show up for midterm elections like we’re having in the United States today.


If you’re apathetic because it seems like every single politician is a greedy, lying, hypocritical prick hungry for power and NOT someone with an intense, earnest desire to serve?

I applaud you. Because it DOES feel that way.

It’s bullshit how horribly dysfunctional these people are. These people who get to dictate how much of our wages are garnished for them to use however inefficiently they want.

Imagine for a minute we had to start a functioning government from scratch. We’d sit around in town halls and we’d point to all the calm, sane, level-headed people who have proven during our time together that they have the common sense, leadership traits, and trustworthiness we seek in people we want guiding the ship.

We’d appoint brilliant doctors and researchers. Teachers and successful entrepreneurs. Real people we could look in the eye and believe in.

All the people with the plastic smiles trying to kiss our babies in red and blue ties while hoping someone was capturing the moment on camera?

Maybe I’m wrong. It happens more than I like to admit. But I don’t think those people would get many votes.

My Six-Year-Old Does Not Run My House

Want to know why?

Because he’s in first grade and knows precisely dick about anything related to the home.

He’s amazing. Wonderful. And I’ve never felt pride in ANYTHING like I do in that child.

But he doesn’t know why the lights turn on when he flips the switch. How water comes from the tap when he turns the sink handle. How his clothes get cleaned. What it costs for groceries and gas. Why the house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

And he’s lived in that house for SIX years! His entire life.

If I left all the decision-making up to him?

We would only eat pizza, macaroni and cheese, and candy.

We would not brush our teeth.

We would never clean or do laundry or mow.

We would never go to work or school.

We would only play on an extremely messy and cluttered floor, and we would probably break a lot of stuff because it’s fun to use things in ways in which they were not designed.

We would stay up very late every night watching television.

I don’t let my son make decisions about how we live because I’m in a much-better position to make choices that don’t leave us and our home smelling like a mixture of sweaty unwiped butts and summer-day dumpster garbage.

That doesn’t make me better or smarter. It’s really circumstantial. I’m older. Wiser. And am financially and socially invested in making sure the house is a nice, safe, comfortable place in which to live.

People really invested in the political process are not “better” or “smarter” than non-voters simply on the merits of their civic involvement.

I used to think so.

I also used to think people who worked 60 hours a week and made $1 million per year were people to admire. And now I think they’re going to die of a heart attack or cancer too young with a bunch of regrets about how they spent their time. And I think worms and insects will eat their bodies while their family and friends spend all the money they earned.

People should not feel ashamed of their lack of interest in a political system full of vile nastiness and dishonesty.

But perhaps more importantly, we SHOULD NOT be encouraging those people to vote.

Get involved? Start learning about how laws are made? Sure! Great! If you want to!

But to just go blindly start filling in circles on their ballots?

For what?

To feel involved?

To what end?

How is the country better afterward?

How is that person better afterward?

Hey son! What do you want to do tonight?

Eat pizza and candy!?!? And stay up late watching television and not brush our teeth!?!?

One wonders why I wouldn’t see that coming.

21 thoughts on “Surprised by Election Day? Please Don’t Vote!”

  1. Here’s my criteria for a qualified elector. Ask them if they have sold their vote to a special interest group, if so no vote. That one criteria would eliminate nearly 95% of congress. (the remainder are just waiting for the check to clear)
    Just because someone has knowledge about the political process does not mean their vote is any better, Case in point – just watch any political convention and try to identify who is and is not crazy.

    1. You make an excellent point. You do.

      But I would NEVER discourage someone from voting just because I don’t agree with them about their choices. People are motivated to vote by whatever they’re motivated by. It’s usually something self-serving. I can live with that, even if I don’t like a particular election’s results.

      It seems irresponsible to me to encourage people to just go vote for voting’s sake.

      I get the sense I don’t have a lot of people agreeing with me on this.

  2. Really, it makes you wonder what kind of a system would actually need to shame people into voting… Good point! And this is true for many countries in the world.

    Besides, choosing not to vote can derive from an active, aware, political decision when people feel like they are forced to choose between the frying pan and the fire.

    1. I hope I don’t sound like I’m discouraging voting.

      Voting is wonderful.

      What I am doing is discouraging the act of encouraging people who have no idea who the candidates are or what they stand for casting votes for them.

      Seems like a bad idea.

  3. I have a different take: it’s the the other way round! If you’re obliged to vote you’re more likely to know who you want to vote for in my experience. People still pick a vote for stupid reasons, that’s inevitable. But they don’t just turn up and tick a random box in my experience. Here, voting is compulsory and you’re fined if you are registered and don’t vote, or if you’re eligible and don’t register. Participation breeds thinking, not the other way round. Can’t guarantee its good thinking but no system can.

    1. Rest assured I want EVERYONE to be engaged in the political process. I hope it doesn’t seem like I don’t. 100-percent participation would be amazing.

      But let’s not put the cart before the horse.

      We don’t hand people car keys until they first know how to drive.

      Don’t encourage voting until people understand what they’re voting for.

      “Participating breeds thinking” is a idea I can absolutely get behind.

      1. Well from what I see in my home country, 100% participation is now cultural, but it stays that way because it is compulsory 🙂 I was fined for not voting once (just returned from living overseas and not yet re-registered). I felt awful. And even if it is only for a week or a few days at the end i think when you are made to vote you *do* think about it. I dont think its the cart before the horse at all, coming from somewhere that does it well.

  4. We have a guy on a forum I frequent who insists that if you vote for anybody other than the Republican or the Democrat, you’ve wasted your vote. Considering what the Repubs and Dems are offering up these days, I can’t agree less. I voted already, on an absentee ballot because in my job I can’t be sure I’ll be home on election day. I voted for reasons of my own, funny thing is while it was the Republican candidate for governor here (Illinois) who was pushing so hard for the early vote I voted Libertarian for that office. Both of the major candidates— nope, I’d rather have the empty chair, it wouldn’t do as much damage to the state. But, an empty chair is not a valid option so the Libertarian guy seems to be the better choice. Certainly better than the other to.

    1. Had this discussion over lunch today, sir. Same talk.

      I can see both sides. Often it seems the choice is between the lesser of two evils.

      Thank you for having the courage to vote your conscience.

      And thank you for participating in this conversation. I appreciate your time very much.

  5. I just made this same point to someone today. They were encouraging our fellow college students to vote. I asked them why: Why vote if you have no idea who or what you’re voting for?
    Apparently that is a novel question.
    Of course if you DO want to vote it only takes a few minutes to find a basic run down of the candidates & the issues online.

  6. I don’t know even people that don’t pay a whole lot of attention usually have some idea of what they want. Voting is compulsory here in Australia and most people (including me!) seem to be for it.

  7. What made my sister laugh about yesterday was that our house didn’t receive the “Vote Now!” phone call until about five minutes before the polls were closing.

  8. Well said, Matt. I completely agree which is why I did not vote. I haven’t had the time or interest and I wasnt’ about to vote for the sake of voting.

  9. Just so’s you know— everybody I voted for lost. No big surprise, of course the Libertarian candidate stood little chance. Otherwise– my vote tends toward the Republican side of the aisle, and after the last re-drawing of the maps I’m in a heavily Democratic district these days.

    Of all the candidates, only the ones for State Representative from my district put up much fight. Either the candidates themselves or their henchmen were canvassing the neighborhood EVERY DAY trying to drum up support. All the other candidates for office seemed to think a couple of ads and a few signs would be enough, and of course when that happens the incumbent is almost a shoo-in because the challenger didn’t put much effort in.

  10. Thank you! I wish more people had stayed home and not voted. They didn’t vote for what could be done or the person–they voted party lines and not telephone lines 😀 . I am so thoroughly disgusted with people. It is our responsibility to be involved and make the people we vote for accountable but the greed has gotten out of control. I am really depressed about our country. No one wants to work together–they just want for themselves. Childish.

    Now, where is the pizza? 🙂

    1. It gets frustrating.

      Pizza time? Great question. I have a dilemma. The pizza place I like the most is in a REALLY inconvenient location, traffic-wise AND a bunch of stoners work their so the customer service is total shit.

      BUT. The pizza is delicious.

      So, the choice is always–Good pizza with potentially bad service 90 minutes from now?


      Average pizza (because even bad pizza is usually edible) and better service?

      I’ll probably write about it sometime because I like to complain once in a while about things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme.

      So, what time?

      Probably two hours later than we plan.


      1. Or make you own? 😀 I worked for one of those pizza places for about 8 years–while in graduate school and afterwards. First a cook then supervisor.. worked my way up to general manager for one at a mall with a decent size restaurant and take out-had great–wonderful pizza!!!

        Sad about the location but you can have fun making memories I guess 😀 I’d rather have better pizza so I would wait, lol….even two hours. 🙂 Life–it’s a trade-off at times.

        1. That ‘Life always having tradoffs’ theme will probably live at the heart of my frustrating pizza ordering stories.


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Matt Fray

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