Editor, Daily Nexus:
Well, another Election Day has come and gone, and we hear the same thing year after year. “Get out and vote! Make a difference! Rock the vote! Don’t take our democracy for granted!” Voting does not make your voice heard. The same candidate will get elected, regardless of whether you make it to the polls or not.
Don’t think that because I choose not to vote I am uninformed or have become disillusioned with the U.S. political system. I find it interesting to watch what issues become important to this country and how the candidates propose we deal with these problems. However, when we are told that it is our obligation to vote and that our vote makes a difference, I have to disagree 100 percent. Voter turnout IS NOT correlated to apathy within the political system. Perhaps people don’t vote in presidential elections because they realize the only time their vote makes a difference is when the race is close and their state is sufficiently large enough to swing the balance of electoral votes from the opposition to the candidate they support.
Maybe voter turnout is low because of the fact that Democrat and Republican candidates are so similar in their policies. The differences between them are played up in debates to give you a reason to vote for one candidate or the other. But our lives will not be noticeably impacted regardless of whether George W. Bush or Al Gore wins the election. You will pay the same in taxes, you will get paid the same, we will still have educational problems, UCSB will receive the same amount in funding, etc. I could go on, but you get the picture. Who heads the country will make no difference in the day-to-day lives of 99 percent of the population.
I choose to “vote” by my actions. Because I believe in affordable housing for low-income families, I volunteer for Habitat For Humanity. Because I believe that we all need to do our part for the environment, I drive a small, fuel-efficient car and rarely eat beef. I am grateful to live in the U.S. and have a democratic form of government. I do not look down on people who vote (although I am sure most of you look down on me for not voting), nor am I proposing an alternate system. What I am saying is that your vote doesn’t matter. If you want to make a difference in this world, don’t fool yourself into thinking voting will do it.