Poll: Would you help someone vote for a candidate you hate?

When I was working on the Dukakis campaign during the New Hampshire primary in 1988, we rented a minivan to take elderly and/or housebound people whom we’d ID’d as supporters to the polls on Election Day. The van pulled up to a senior citizens’ center that day, and our supporters got on. The driver, a guy I barely knew, saw a bunch of Paul Simon voters (we could tell from the buttons and signs) waiting in the lobby. With a smile, he said, “The Simon van should be along shortly!” As far as we knew, there was no Simon van. Part of me was amused by this, but part of me felt a little uncomfortable… shouldn’t we help everyone vote? But then our guy might lose! Maybe I’m not cutthroat enough.


Suppose your neighbor is a little old lady who you knew supported candidate Avery for President. You think Avery is wrong on all the issues and is practically a threat to the Republic; you’re a strong supporter of candidate Barnes. Do you give your neighbor a lift to the polls, if she asks? What if her car breaks down that day and she comes to you, in tears, and asks for a ride? What if she’s nearly blind and just needs help filling out her absentee ballot? Would it depend on the circumstances? How much, if at all, would you help a nice person who supports a candidate you despise?

Friend, neighbor, relative … I’d help because I’m helping THAT PERSON with my own individual time and effort.

Driving a van as part of a candidate’s GOTV effort … I wouldn’t help opposition voters because I have dedicated myself to the campaign and I would see myself as an agent of the campaign while “on duty.”

Absolutely, I’d help. If I like the person and am willing to help them, I don’t care who they vote for. It’s not my place to affect who they vote for or whether or not they vote.

It would hurt to cast a vote for an awful candidate, but I’d still feel that I did the right thing.

I have been mulling this over lately. One day I may have to drive my R parents to the polls when they’re old and gray. I’ll feel bad about it, but I’ll do it just cuz it’ll be a dependent type of thing. I wouldn’t want to be actively obstructing them from voting. And anyway they’re retiring in NC, so who cares!

As for a neighbor or somebody I had no personal obligation to… heck no. I can’t stomach people who are buying McCain’s BS at this point. If you’re that dumb, the only way you’re getting in my car is if you’re my mom:smack:, or somebody’s life is at risk.

Yes, I’d help a neighbour in this way. It wouldn’t worry me that her political views differ from mine.

And she has to vote anyway, so why not help out?

True, voting being compulsory in Australia gets around this (small-scale) moral dilemma.

Yes, I would. Surely obstructing a voter who wants to vote is some sort of federal crime or something.

Yes I would. I signed for my friend’s absentee ballot as a witness when I didn’t agree with her choice so I’ve done something similar before. To me its about rights and its like free speech. You know the whole “I may not like what you have to say, but I’ll die for your right to say it” thing.

I’ve been doing voter registration as a volunteer for Obama. Most of the folks I’m registering are Democrats, since I live in the long-blue city of Philadelphia, but I’m happy to register the Independents and Republicans as well. Voting is, in general, A Good Thing, and I’m happy to support people in doing it (though naturally I’m even happier helping the Democrats do it).

This is a couple of steps towards the abstract from your Election Day example, but it helps me think, yeah, regardless of who they’re voting for, I’d help.

I would, but I wouldn’t be proud of myself. I would suspect myself of taking the easy way out.

I think I should put my … (I don’t know what) … where my mouth is, and say, “No. I won’t do anything to help get that candidate elected. Walk, and you’ll have to, because subsidies to public transportation have been cut again.”

But I wouldn’t. I’d give them a ride.


It wouldn’t have to be a neighbor either.

A person’s right to exercise their franchise is the bedrock on which democracy is built. I think in the long run, it’s more important to encourage the exercise of that right is more important than who gets elected in any one given election.

Helping someone vote, even if for Obama would be more important to me than trying to help McCain get a cheap leg up.

It is more important to me that the person votes than that my candidate wins or my issue passes.
Even if I’m really, really, really right and the person I’m helping to vote is a moron.

So, yes, I would help them. I know I told one particular moron how to find his local caucus and then later what he needed to how to vote in the primary (this was a Washington blanket primary, so it mattered) when he asked.

I would like to think of myself as the type of person who would go out of my way to help. I do draw the line at looking for people to go out of my way to help vote wrong. But if they find me, then I think I have to help.

I wouldn’t like it, but I’d do it.

In a heartbeat! The right to vote is sacred and my political leanings should not deter another from that right.

You guys are too altruistic for me. I don’t donate time or money to the opposition. Why should I help their supporters? I’d give them the number of the opposition’s campaign HQ.

Oh hell. I’d help them. I might be in that position myself someday.

I’d definitely help. The percentage of people that we vote here is appalling. Why should I prevent anyone who actually is willing to participate?

That said, I won’t actively encourage people I know would vote for the other guy to vote. While I send out reminders to my democrat-leaning friends to apply for their absentee ballots, I do not do the same for my republican-leaning friends.

Hell no, I’m in it to win.

Hell yes, I’d help. Already have: I’m a registrar, i.e. able to register people to vote. I’m quite sure some of them won’t vote the way I do and that doesn’t matter at all.

Privately, I may shake my head and wonder what the hell people think to vote they way they do but they deserve absolute respect from me for voting. The only people who get my scorn are those who don’t bother to vote. “My vote doesn’t count, don’t like anybody, too much hassle”…bullshit.

And don’t get me started on people who can’t be bothered to vote in local elections, where most of things that directly impact their lives are decided. Presidential elections are sexy because they get so much air time and press coverage.


I live in Philadelphia; I’m a young, usually well-dressed, alert-looking person; I spend a lot of time on a college campus; and I take public transportation every day.

I get accosted by clipboard-wielding hippies several times a week, trying to sign me up. I enjoy posing the OP’s ethical dilemma for these people. 99% of the time, the exchange goes like this*:

Them: “Hi!”
Me: “Hi.”
Them [waving clipboard]: “Are you registered to vote?”
Me: “In fact, I’m not.”
Them: “I can help you out with that, if you’re interested.”
Me: “Actually, if I vote, it’ll be for McCain.”
Them: “Good luck with that.” [turns and walks away]

I have been blown away by the unanimity of this response. I guess I haven’t run in to twickster yet.
*Note: I do not discuss my actual registration status or my actual voting intent with strangers on the street.

Yes, I would absolutely help, even if I knew they were voting the other way.