Monday, November 07, 2011

Who Votes in a Low-Turnout Election?

People who pick up litter.

People who let others merge onto the highway.

People who wear seatbelts, all the time.

Who votes in low-turnout elections, like the one Kentucky will have tomorrow?

People who feel that being a dutiful member of the community is part of who they are.

Voting is not really about what's in it for you. 

Voting is not really about whether your vote will make a difference.

Voting is part of being a member of a democratic community.

I can't prove any of the above.  This is my opinion.  But it is my opinion that voting is more a matter of identity and loyalty and character than it is about any instrumental goal.

As for me and Mrs. G., we will be at the polls early.  As usual. I hope you will be too.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think your analysis of voter motives is right on. It is for those reasons (rather than any real hope of affecting the outcome) that I vote every time.

Ever since I read the piece below back in 2004, voting has been, for me, a ritual of civil religion without the pretense of my individual vote having any consequence.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/everyday_economics/2004/09/dont_vote.html

Kerri said...

ahhh you are spot on, and it upsets me so much that I didn't do my absentee stuff in time. I don't think I've ever missed an election since I was 18...

gruntled said...

We'll get you back next time, Kerri.

Beloved Spear said...

I will assume that by "all the time" you mean "when they're driving." Just wanted to be clear.

gruntled said...

Shoot, Spear, you mean I can take it off in the house? :-)