So, you don't vote. Why not?

As a volunteer elections inspector who ran a precinct for the disastrous Michigan 11th District special primary this past Wednesday (in a precinct with 1400 voters we had 21 people come in all day. 13 hours. 21 voters. And we were apparently fairly typical.) Even for presidential elections, ~70% turnout is typical, and that’s among REGISTERED voters, people who bothered to register but don’t bother to vote now. I think there are very important reasons to vote and I’m curious about the opinions of those who don’t.

Do you get sick of the whole campaign process and say a pox on both your houses? Are there never any candidates you feel you can support? I’m not looking to pass judgment or convince you that you* should *vote, I’m mostly curious.

On reflection, I think there are several reasons:

[li]No strong feeling of belonging/attachment to a particular place. I move every several years and still don’t know where I’ll end up permanently. Once I do settle somewhere, then I’ll probably be motivated to register and start voting. In this sense, not voting is similar to not having a library card or a regular dentist.[/li][li]Relative lack of strong political feelings. Occasionally, I have strong feelings about a particular issue. But as a rule, my strongest feelings are usually being pissed off at people on both sides of the political spectrum for being so sure they are right and for speaking as though of course their audience agrees (and deep down, probably, being jealous and wishing I had strong convictions too). [/li][li]No strong feeling of efficacy. The chances of my singular vote making a difference are virtually non-existent. If I ever do start voting, it will be as a way of trying to motivate myself to be more politically informed and have more informed opinions and not because I think that my vote will actually matter for anything.[/li][/ul]

My wife refused to vote for many years, on the grounds that she didn’t want to get summoned for jury duty.

When, despite not being a registered voter, she was called for jury duty several times, she started voting again. :slight_smile:

Yes. Yes. Yes.

This is the main reason my coworkers give for not voting. They’re always crestfallen when I tell them that Indiana changed their methods of choosing juries years ago, and now go through multiple sources: registered voters, driver’s license holders, etc.

It just encourages the bastards.

I don’t derive any personal satisfaction from the process, and an election will have the same outcome whether I vote or not, so I choose “not”.

I love voting in SDMB polls though.

Multiple felony convictions.

Reagan and Bush Sr. are the only two presidential candidates I ever felt enthusiasm about, and I was too young to vote for them. And it’s not like my single vote is going to decide the outcome of the presidential election or even the local dogcatcher.

Hey, I’m in that district! I usually vote, but I didn’t vote in the special election because only one person was running as a Democrat, and I didn’t like any of the Republican candidates. It’s my understanding that if only one person had run for each party, we wouldn’t have needed to spend money on a special election, which just made me angry at the Republican candidates.

The choices are mainly between republican and democrat, if any. Many run unopposed. It’s a waste of time.

I’ve never felt I understood politics enough to vote and feel confident that I was voting correctly. I’m an overthinker and I never felt like the commercials I saw on TV really tells us all we need to know about a candidate. Sure, they give us a quick overview about where they stand on the REALLY REALLY big stuff, but what about the really really tiny stuff that will probably actually have a bigger impact on our day to day lives?
And then you look into that and since it’s politics, every decision, every signature, every speech, every veto, every protest creates this whole chain reaction of other things that almost HAS to take place and again, I never felt like I was educated enough to understand it.
A good point, IMO, was the protests on Madison (the Scott Walker stuff) just recently. All those kids were protesting the union busting and the teachers losing their health insurance (or at least losing part of it or having to pay more for it). I’m curious as to how many of them were aware of the fact that if they ‘won’ thousands of public workers would have been fired about a week later. Scott made that very, very clear. Either he was going to bust the unions and take away health care OR fire a ton of public workers. He chose the former and the protesters showed up. I honestly don’t think most of them heard the second part.
That was always my fear. That I’d vote one way, but not understand everything fully always made me nervous. OTOH, the "my vote doesn’t really count for anything’ is a pretty strong feeling as well.

Also, I’m a (now) 32 year old person which puts me right in with the democrats, age wise. However, my father owns a small business, and while, he’s never once told me of his political leanings, just being very involved in the business growing up makes it very confusing. If I was going to vote, it would be democratic, but there are certain republican ideas I like (mostly when it comes to business stuff). That makes me something, a Libertarian maybe? I don’t remember.

Anyways, this is the first year I ended up (not really on purpose) paying attention. I wanted some of the RNC and the DNC. Again, like I said, if I was going to vote, it would be for Obama. That was a given before the race even started. But watching Clinton speak may have actually motivated me.

Also, lastly, and maybe it’s because I’m only 32, I’ve yet to see anything that a change in presidency, or mayor or senator or whatever has done that’s effected my life. The only thing I can think of is the reduction in the employee portion of the Social Security Tax from Obama. Other then that, off the top of my head, I really can’t think of anything. Maybe for people that aren’t middle class, white, making 30-50k per year 20-40 years old, didn’t get any grants for college, don’t work or own a business run by a minority etc etc etc. My life is ‘easy’. Of course, I worked hard to make easy and my parents worked hard to make sure I could work hard to make it easy (is this making sense). OTOH, Obama’s campaign seems to be about lifting more people into this ‘easy’ area. Hopefully they don’t get lost in it. If they can’t navigate their way around, they’ll fall right back out the bottom.
(Also, the people that are upper class, above all this, probably see more changes from one administration to the next as well, but that’s probably more in the way of changes to the tax code then anything else).

Heh. That was my drunken joke reply, spelt correctly and all. But seriously. .

I’ve voted ever since I could (I’m 53), but in presidential races almost exclusively for third party candidates. In the 2008 race, my gf supported Obama strongly. She worked for the campaign and donated a large sum of money to the cause.

I was not convinced. Then Obama announced that his administration would leave medical marijuana state programs alone. My gf pointed this out to me and on that single issue (important to me) I cast my vote for the man. It turned out to be a lie.

I will very likely cast a vote in 2012, but it will likely be meaningless again.

I would love to vote. Unfortunately, because I’m only a Permanent Resident, I don’t get to. I’m also not able to vote in my native country’s elections, because their rules are different.

Because they are the least qualified to do the job. The last thing I’m going to do is endorse their incompetence.

I’m not an Australian citizen so I can’t vote anyway, and it’s very annoying that if I was it is compulsory for me to vote. Back in New Zealand, where I presumably can vote absentee, I don’t even care. It’s not like the person I vote for is actually going to do anything that benefits anybody other than themselves.

Thanks all for the replies! There’s some good stuff to consider here, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to add a followup question: if you’re not voting because of some principled objection, if that thing changed, would you then vote?

I know, right? I was telling people “hey, if you’re ever going to skip a vote, I’ll give you a pass on this one.” My mother didn’t vote, sweetie didn’t vote, I don’t blame either of them. I voted for Steve King because, hey, the Dittilies, why not.

You know who I’m pissed off about? Nancy Cassis. She was the second Republican to throw her hat into this ring, ensuring that yes, there would be an election. She almost semi-apologized at the time, saying that it was too important to not run against Bentivolio.

Did I see a single commercial or yard sign for her after the Aug 7 election, campaigning for this seat? No, no I did not. Too important not to run, but not important enough to actually, you know, spend a little time actually CAMPAIGNING or anything.

I don’t vote for U.S. elections because I’m a dual citizen, and I don’t think I have the ethical right to vote for two countries.

Isn’t this a glaring contradiction?

I am not eligible to vote where I live as I’m not a citizen.

I did not cast an absentee ballot in the last US election I was eligible to vote in because I never got the ballot. I had made the appropriate request to receive ballots for a full election cycle but the law was changed and now I have to make a request for each election.

I don’t have a strong opinion about a lot of the down ballot positions - water district commissioner, sanitation commissioner, etc… so I am not apt to vote in purely local elections.

No, I’d say they’re two reasons for not voting.