On Voting

06 Jul

Many around the ‘sphere choose not to vote as it just encourages the bastards. Others abstain for religious reasons. A few of us still vote. Regardless of whether or not we participate, it seems these arguments focus upon federal elections–president and congress– and seldom include discussions of school boards, zoning, and millage. While it is true that one vote generally doesn’t matter at the national level, one vote can matter locally. Tax increases, local officials (who wield more power than you realize), liquor sales laws and a variety of other decisions arise from the local level. These decisions directly affect you as a resident of those areas.

For those who abstain from federal elections, do you also abstain from local ones? Regardless of answer, why?


Posted by on July 6, 2012 in government, law


23 responses to “On Voting

  1. DC Al Fine

    July 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I vote in federal/provincial elections when I know there is a committed Christian running in my riding. They usually run for Christian Heritage Party, but some Tories also get my vote. If there is no Christian running, I spoil my ballot or stay home.

    When it comes to municipal elections, I always make sure I get out and vote for sensible candidates. Remember, it’s almost always the local officials that expel students for wearing Jesus T-shirts, ban cake in schools, and engage in other petty tyrannies. Therefore, we reactionaries must take steps to keep these nutbars out of office when possible.

  2. Will S.

    July 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Ah, you must be a fellow Canadian, DC!

    I will vote in provincial elections if there’s someone I can vote for in good conscience, same as the standard I hold to re: federal elections. That includes good protest votes; last provincial election, I voted for the Libertarian Party candidate, for instance.

    As for local elections, I vote sometimes, but I’m afraid not all the time; not out of any principled reason, though I would also abstain deliberately if I disliked all the candidates. One problem I’ve run into, is that I’ve moved around enough in my lifetime, that I haven’t always been well informed about local issues – though that’s a bit of an excuse, as I don’t take enough time to get myself informed, even when I’m in a place long enough that I should know. Truth be told, I do pay some attention, but only if something of major enough importance caught my attention, would I bother to vote in a local election. I do agree that at the local level, more changes can be made than at other levels – but only if things become issues; oftentimes, I find they don’t; at least, not much that piques my interest enough to care about getting out there and participating, that often. The last time I voted in a local election, it was because someone I knew and disliked intensely, was actively campaigning for a certain mayoral candidate; I made sure I got out there and cancelled his vote, by voting for the other guy. 😉

  3. Ulysses

    July 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    You Canucks will have to excuse me as I’m ignorant of Canadian civics, but do you only get to vote for candidates? I often vote on issues. For example, there was recently a close election on increasing school millage, that is the property tax that goes toward public schools. From an individual perspective, those types of elections are frequently the most important elections where I live. Turnout is often low, so whichever side has the most apathy loses.

  4. Will S.

    July 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Well, there can be plebiscites on specific issues, if municipal governments decide to put them to a vote, same as provincial and federal governments can do likewise and put questions to referenda, but generally, municipal elections are largely a case of voting for candidates.

    BTW, I have a question myself regarding American municipal elections – they involve political parties, am I correct? Hence how we all know N.Y. city mayor Rudy Giuliani was Republican, while David Dinkins had been a Democrat, etc. But up here in Canada, typically, they do not; candidates tend to run just as themselves, without calling attention to any other-level political affiliations – though people tend to know their political affiliations at other levels, if they’re fairly well-known candidates. And the colour of their placards usually gives a clue (up here, red = liberal, blue = conservative), as to their political sympathies.

    Thus, partisanship doesn’t become as involved, at the municipal level, to the extent it does at the provincial and federal levels, here in Canada. I imagine, if parties are involved in American local elections, that it’s an entirely different matter down there; am I right? Local races would be just as bitterly partisan, presumably, as state and national elections.

    I probably really ought to pay more attention to local politics, because as DC pointed out, above, that’s where various tyrannies happen… I think if I lived in a big city like Toronto, I might be inclined to pay more attention, though, than I have in the various smaller and medium sized cities and rural areas I’ve lived in.

    • Ulysses

      July 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      It depends on geographical area and even then it’s on a micro level. For example, at the state level my state is dominated by conservative Democrats. They’re not that conservative, but conservative enough that their power hasn’t yet been revoked. (This will likely change drastically come November. They currently pay lip service to their constituents then enact policies that totally align with Obama’s agenda.) At the county level and below, though, my area is staunchly conservative Republican. Primaries often decide the overall winner as no Democrats bother to run here. As such, outside of judgeships, they announce their party on campaign signs and other publicity.

  5. Will S.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Ah. Interesting.

    In Canada, in addition to the ten provinces, there are three territories – large areas up north that have a slightly different form of government to that of the provinces – similar, but not quite as self-governing, with the federal government playing a larger role up there.

    Anyway, one of the territories, the Yukon, is much like the provinces, in having political parties, and a similar government form. The other two, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, both have a non-partisan, consensus-based government, where everyone has to agree on something, for it to pass. It’s largely because they’re mostly native – Indian and Inuit (Eskimo), and they say that’s more traditional to them. The NWT, though, is almost half-white, and I think if all the whites got together, they could push to change their legislature, to make it more like conventional politics. But, it seems to suit them just fine, to have that ostensibly ‘non-adversarial’ form of government; no doubt there’s a lot of “scratch my back; I’ll scratch your” deal-making that goes on…

  6. Stonelifter

    July 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I do not vote in the federal elections but I do for county/ local elections, because I know the local people. I can look them in the eye and take the measure of the man. For example, I know my Sheriff is pro gun because he’s a member of the county shooting club, approves all my fire arms stamps request. My county commissioner is well know locally for skeet shooting/ bird hunting and I’ve gone shooting with my state senator. The rest of the “elected” officials can tell me any damn thing and how am I supposed to know the difference?

  7. Foseti

    July 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I don’t vote at all. Frankly, I think voting is rather prole. Homeless dudes do it, forchrissake.

    Plus, I live in DC, so what are my choices?

  8. Sis

    July 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I’m still a voter.

  9. electricangel1978

    July 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    There’s never a doubt who I am voting for for President: the Democrat. I live in a state so blue it’s Indigo. Or something like that. So why bother?

    But local elections are different. I vote against EVERY bond issue, every tax increase, every request to expand government power. If you live in a state like New Jersey (I don’t), where their election are the year AFTER the presidential ones, you can have quite a bit of influence. Every time the country chooses a Democrat, the next election Jersey chooses a republican. B/c the little minds are only interested in voting where they have little influence, I picks my battles.

    Interestingly, my sister came over from Europe to register and vote at my father’s place in Florida, b/c she thought her vote would make a difference. I mocked her for it. Oops.

  10. Elspeth

    July 9, 2012 at 5:49 am

    We vote in national elections. This is the first year we’re actually considering skipping ot, or at least “throwing away our vote” by writing in a presidential candidate.

    I agree that local elections are still worth the trouble…for now.

  11. Will S.

    July 9, 2012 at 9:30 am

    @ Elspeth: I tried to leave a comment at your blog just now, but it appears to have gotten either stuck in moderation or gone into your spam bin; that has happened to me a lot recently with WordPress blogs, which I don’t get, since I am logged into my WordPress account always.

    • Ulysses

      July 9, 2012 at 10:02 am

      WordPress has been terrible lately. Every time I leave a comment at a new blog, I go into the spam bin. I’ve even been spammed when I left replies to comments on articles I’ve published on other blogs.

  12. An Unmarried Man

    July 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I’ve voted my entire 18+ life. I can still remember when the act of voting was a civil “duty”/obligation and there was a sense of shame attached to refusing to vote as essentially you were divesting yourself of a say in your government by such a refusal. This is the first national election where I’ve seriously considered not participating. Unbelievably, the politicians become more seedy, more disconnected and more manipulative each election cycle. It seems the limits of their perversion of the political process knows no bounds!

    The “election paradigm” has been manipulated and turned into one big insignificant ploy. It serves no other purpose other than to give voters a sense of involvement which is a joke in itself. Even the most insignificant local election to vote for the dog catcher is just a trickle down delusion of national campaigns. Local governments here and around Los Angeles are corrupt on Third World levels. The California initiative process has become meaningless. Everything ends up in stupid court anyways and is decided by judges (who we vote for as well).

    By voting I believe I am only contributing to maintain a defunct, corrupt system. It is a symbolic merry-go-round of inaction. We cannot govern ourselves on a national level anymore.

  13. Will S.

    July 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Yes, I’ve noticed it’s happened to lots of people lately. I don’t get it. Even blogs I’ve commented on many times before, it’s turning new comments of mine into ‘spam’.

  14. Elspeth

    July 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Hey Will. I just fished you out of the spam bin. Not sure what was going on there.

  15. Will S.

    July 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Hey Elspeth, it’s happened to me a lot lately, at various blogs – and not only to me, but to others, too. WordPress is acting up.

  16. Jennifer

    July 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I’m more likely to be involved in national elections than local ones, as I’m better informed of the former.

  17. empathologicalism

    July 11, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Local politics is fascinating. I was a precinct chair in Texas, it was an elected position despite it being small, but it afforded a seat at the party apparatus in the county, and thats where the action is. It was amazing that even inside the local party the left/right separation was huge and the debates were fierce.
    But i found that we/I could actually do things that were measurable….defeat a tax levy, etc. Its a hoot


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