Contrary to what some people may think, I don’t agree that every vote should count, and I don’t think that everyone should vote. In fact, there are some very good reasons why you should not vote this election year:
- Illegal aliens should not vote
- Legal residents who are not U.S. citizens should not vote
- Felons who have lost their franchise should not vote
- The dead should not vote
- People should not vote in races in a state where they do not reside
- People who are not registered should not vote
- People who lie about their identities should not vote
- People voting multiple times should not vote
- People who choose a candidate based on which one looks prettier/more handsome should not vote
- People who choose a candidate based on whether he or she gives out free cigarettes should not vote
- People who don’t know the candidates, their platforms, and/or their history should not vote
That’s quite a list, don’t you think? Some of the above actions are illegal, but some show a severe lack of understanding. And I, for one, don’t think you should vote if you don’t know what or who you are voting for or against. Yes, I know that voting while ignorant isn’t illegal, but that still doesn’t change my opinion that voting ignorantly is worse than not voting at all. Bottom line: know why you are voting.
Notice that at no point have I said that you shouldn’t vote if you lean toward one political philosophy or another. I really don’t care whom you vote for as long as you know why you are voting for that candidate. But I will say that voting for someone just because that person is a member of your party is not a sufficient reason. To illustrate my point, lemme mention two (in)famous political names: Dan Rostenkowski and Mark Foley. Neither of these two should have been voted into the House.
Some people get mad at the candidates in their party, and so they decide to cast a protest vote for the other party. I’ve heard it explained that “if the people in my party can’t do the right thing when they’re in power, then tossing them out will teach them a lesson.” I’m hearing this from Republicans this year, and I heard it from Democrats in the ’90s. Not to be negative, but do you really think anyone cares about your vote in particular? Hah! It would be far more effective to get involved in the workings of your party than to cast a vote for someone outside of it. But that’s assuming that you are interested enough to become involved.
And speaking of involvement, my Church doesn’t tell its members which political party to vote for, and it pretty much stays out of elections and measures unless there are moral issues on the ballot. Our leaders will speak out against measures dealing with gambling and abortion, for example, because these measures deal with moral issues. While not taking a stand on political parties, my Church does tell me what type of men and women I should vote for:
“Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” [D&C 98:9-10]
And that is why I need to know the individual candidates, what they stand for, and their moral character.