Importance of Voting

Come each election time, the question of "why vote" becomes one of the most popular conversation starters. There are many reasons on which disinterested voters rely to explain why they think voting is a waste of time leading to inconsequence.

Often times, however, these disinterested voters fail to grasp the bigger picture. The impact of one vote may by itself be of no importance in a pool of thousands, or even millions of other votes. On the other hand, those other million votes would not exist without the individual effort of each individual voters.

There is an expectation, arguably rational yet unreasonable, from voters that their votes must "count" for something. There is a feeling that a vote becomes progressively less significant the greater the margin becomes between the leader and the runner-up. Most voting literature exactly attempt to emphasis that importance of each vote in order to make potential voter feel important to vote.

Unfortunately, one single vote rarely makes or breaks an election. So in that respect, give or take one vote would make no material difference. However, a vote is something that only carries weight proportional to its like-minded collective quantity. It is only through massive collection of individual votes that the importance of voting is truly shown. Reaching that point, however, absolutely requires each individual to contribute their insignificant share of the pie.

Voter apathy is a serious problem. It may originate from an individual with little individual impact, but as voter apathy becomes the rule rather than the exception, the number of votes not casted accumulate at alarming rates. Especially in nations that are increasingly evenly divided between opposite political positions, the voices that did not vote vast outnumber the difference between the winner and the opposition. If individually those who stayed home had contributed their small share of responsibility, collectively they will have had definitive impact on the result.

It is also a terrible cycle, when voters who do not vote do not feel that they are being represented, yet believe that their own single vote would not change the situation regardless. Voting is about taking an initiative, and taking responsibility for one's own action, rather than blaming others for what one did not do.

Finally, the most important reason comes to citizenship. Voting, as mentioned, is a responsibility. It is not a privilege, and often it is not a legal obligation, but it is a moral and practical responsibility to vote. Notwithstanding for whom or for which measure the vote was cast, the simple act of voting is an expression of confidence and respect for the country and its democratic system. To vote is to believe in the ultimate supremacy of the will of the people. People who love their country and care for the future of their community vote. They also believe that others will do the same because they also love their country.

Wednesday November 8, 2006