Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Voting is not a Singular Event

Lately I've come across arguments over the effectiveness of voting, whether it really means anything given the structure of the system. The con argument seems to advocate just staying home; the pro relies on rather philsophical arguments.
I think an important point is overlooked in that argument; There's usually more than one vote to cast. Yes, The Presidential system is indirect and convoluted. But there are other votes on that ballot that are direct and meaningful, like state and local offices and ballot initiatives. Votes can make a real difference there, and have an immediate impact on lives. Political parties know this, and have used them to get out votes.
So even if you just can't bring yourself to participate in the screwed-up Presidential main event, don't forget about the undercard.


Dale said...

This point is rarely missed in Oregon, where the above-the-fold story is typically the ballot measures. Sure, we vote for president too, but it's often not the source of most heat and light.

Oh, the ballot measures. We have so many, year after year, election after election, and almost all of them are terrible. We have legislators who sit back and do as little as possible, knowing it will get them nowhere with voters who think they can and should legislate in their place (based, of course, on little more than TV ads and whisper campaigns). More often than not, it's ugly.

The good news: voter turnout is high. And we have passed a few good ones -- like voting by mail and legalized euthenasia.

Overall, though, it makes one realize the shortcomings of direct democracy.

Mike said...

dale, ballot measures are a hazard here in South Dakota because the small population means it doesn't take that many signatures to get something on the ballot,and you can always find people who will sign anything,so people with axes to grind can get the same issues put on over and over.