August 8, 2022

To Vote, or Not to Vote – That is the Question

Youthful expression of freedom of speech. Courtesy of Theresa Thompson

by Langdon Kessner ’17

Arts and Life Editor

A common theme running in this 2016 election is fear. After sitting through the debates, it is evidently clear that neither Trump nor Clinton are running based on the strength of their ideas or their character. They’re only getting votes to keep the other side out of the office. Whether or not you support Trump or Clinton, both candidates are using fear to grab your support.

Don’t vote Trump because he is a sexist, racist, lunatic who will ruin this country. But also don’t vote Clinton because she is a corrupt, lying, two-sided politician who will ruin this country.

So what is the undecided voter supposed to do? Who is there to vote for when there is no likable candidate? If there is so much support on both sides, does one vote even matter? Well, your vote does matter, but maybe not in the way you think.

The ticket includes a candidate for president and vice president. The outcome of the vote in each state determines a slate of electors who then make the actual choice of president and vice president. States may or may not require their electors to vote with the popular majority, and they may or may not give all of their electors of the winner of the statewide popular vote. In practice, electors are pledged to cast their votes in accordance with the popular vote, and “faithless electors” who go against the popular vote are extremely rare.  

So you are not technically voting for the President, but rather, for the recommendation. And yes, while the idea of “faithless electors” is sketchy, there are some states that have laws requiring electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote.  

Just vote. Why? Because you can, so do it. If you do not like either Trump or Clinton, vote third-party. If you do not like Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, then write someone in. Other countries do not let their citizens vote, so take advantage of what you have. It is like going to the dentist.  Nobody wants to go, but you should.

1 Comment on To Vote, or Not to Vote – That is the Question

  1. As an alumnus from the 1970s who also was heavily involved in The Tartan and a Political Studies major while at Gordon, I want to commend Ms. Larson’s op-ed article. I struggled with this question then and even more in 2016. Her piece is both thoughtful and articulate in explaining why it is important to preserving a democracy, but also our part of our civic responsibility as Christians. Millions of Americans throughout our history had to fight for universal suffrage, and still many must continue to oppose voter suppression and felony disenfranchisement (denying the right to vote even after a felon has served their time). If you do not cast a ballot, your opinions remain invisible, but as long as you do go to the polls and vote, it is counted and demonstrates that not everyone agrees with the options, including members of the Christian community. Regardless of the outcome in 2016, it said something that one candidate got almost three million votes more than the other, while another won the Electoral College vote. This is the 4th time this has happened and a sizeable majority of Americans support getting rid of the EC. Do you think we still need electors to protect us from the will of the majority when voters have more information, are better educated, watch debates, spend months observing candidates in a grueling nomination process, and millions of dollars are spent marketing candidates? Do you have a clue who the “electors” that you vote for really are? Regardless of the method of choosing our President and Vice President, voting is one way those who represent are chosen. The choices decide the policies that shape our lives and and those of the entire world community every day! I am with Ms. Larson, we should be informed and vote!

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