Friday, February 10, 2012

why can't my vote count as -1

You often hear major politicians speak of voting as the most precious, and even sacred, right afforded to a U.S. citizen.  While I agree that voting is instrumental to democracy, I think political activism is even more important.  The right to organize and try to ideologically persuade others seems vastly more crucial to the system.  Think about it in terms of the last election.  One man, one vote.  Right?  Well, not really.  A vote for John McCain in Alabama or Texas meant far less, than say a vote for McCain in Missouri, North Carolina or Ohio.  That's because McCain handily won the more "red" states and struggled in the swing or "purple" states.

It got me to thinking.  You always hear the standard refrain.  "It's election day.  Do your civic duty.  Make sure you vote.  It's a matter of patriotism.  People gave their lives for your right to vote."  While I think this might be a slightly amateurish assessment, I generally believe in the fundamental tenets  of democracy.  Hey, things could be a lot worse.  Think Syria.

But what if you don't like any of the candidates?  What if you think the whole system is corrupt and you can't align yourself with either of the major party candidates.  Many people think the Dems and Reps are basically the same entity under the auspices of big business.  Aside from the drastic discrepancies on social issues and the Republicans obsession with national defense and the 1%, I tend to agree with this.  So you don't care for either major party.  Maybe you like the Libertarians or the Green Party.  Maybe the Constitution or U.S. Taxpayers Party.  But what if you can't support any of them either.  Then what do you do?

Well, the current best option is to not cast a ballot for any of the candidates on the ballot.  Personally, I'd take it a step further.  I'd make sure to be registered, show up to vote and specifically leave the presidential ticket completely blank.  At least this way, you're taking the active stance of performing your civic duty and making a relative statement of discontent with all the candidates.  If this suits your taste, it seems better than voting for the "lesser of two evils."

Well... I came up with a new idea tonight.  Why can't people have the option of voting AGAINST a particular candidate.  When I say AGAINST, I mean their vote would be numerically tallied as -1.  Wouldn't this be a truer, more accurate reflection of democracy?  Especially in the case where I don't care much for either candidate.  I reluctantly chose to cast a ballot for John Kerry in 2004.  But in hindsight, I would have vastly preferred that my vote be counted as Bush -1, rather than Kerry +1.

You often hear the argument from a married couple that their conflicting votes will cancel each other out, so what's the point?  This is a relatively weak supposition, because you could make the same argument with anyone, not just your spouse.   And real vote totals do have an eventual impact on census type shit and the gerrymandering process.

As of right now regarding the presidential election, we'll basically be dealt 2 major choices from the 2 mainstream parties: Obama and probably Mittens Romney.  If I were a diehard Tea Party follower, I'd probably feel more comfortable voting Obama -1.  And if I were an activist in a swing state, maybe I could persuade all my like-minded constituents to vote AGAINST Obama.   

You often hear... I'm voting against all the incumbents (throw the bums out, they're all crooks) or I always vote straight ticket Democrat or I refuse to vote because the entire system is rigged.  In accordance with the universal laws of balance, wouldn't a vote FOR / AGAINST Democrat OR Republican make more fundamental sense than a FOR Democrat / FOR Republican vote.  Makes far more sense to me and I just thought up the whole concept this evening.  It would just take a little time to get used to.  Plus, you'd get better schematics on which candidates had higher negatives in certain sections of the country.  Hell, the red/blue map is already pretty well-defined.  Why not compartmentalize it even further?  Wouldn't that be viewed as an improvement on the status quo?

I realize this could skew the end results and make voter turn-out appear less substantial.  But seriously, wouldn't this be a better barometer of true democracy.  You always hear the phrase, "One man, One vote.  But why do I always have to vote FOR a candidate?  More importantly, how come I've never heard anyone propose this idea?  Seriously, how come nobody has ever thrown this out in the public realm?  I think it could have tremendous support.  And yes, I realize the Dems and Reps would both hate the idea.  So what?  Why do they get to have a stranglehold on the electoral process, particularly to the highest office in the land?

1 comment:

sonofsaf said...

This idea regarding negative voting power is a much purer form of democracy than the current set-up. It would have to take hold at the lower level and work it's way to the top.

Town/City > County > State would be the necessary progression. I'm guessing someone would have to file a lawsuit in state court to alter the configuration of the electronic ballot. If it generated enough steam and hype (like the announcement of Whitney Houston's passing), other municipalities would enter the fray. Real democracy in action.