Darryl W. Perry is an author, regular co-host of the nationally syndicated Free Talk Live radio program and a political activist who currently serves as the vice-chair for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. Perry sought the Libertarian Party’s 2016 presidential nomination earlier this year. The following was published on FPP.cc on July 31st, 2016:
I recently came across an article titled “20 Reasons Not to Vote” which basically claimed in different ways that voting is an act of aggression, and no one who claims to support a peaceful society can vote without violating the principles they claim to support. I see writings like this every few years, generally before a Presidential election, and feel it’s important to remind people that voting can be done defensively. I know that in some elections voters are given the option of a candidate in favor of increasing government or a candidate in favor of increasing government even more, however there are times when the voters are faced with a question of increasing a tax rate, decreasing spending, repealing a regulation, etc. In those cases, it is possible to vote in a manner that will actually be self-defense. I’ve previously written about how voting can not rightly be seen as “endorsing the system” as some non-voters like to claim. Today I’m going to do something different, dare I say unexpected, and give my own list of reasons not to vote.
If you don’t know who or what is on the ballot.
Uninformed people make uninformed decisions, which often times are bad not only for themselves but also for others. Imagine for a moment you need to buy a car, and are not educated about the options on the car lot. However you’ve seen advertisements for a particular model, but otherwise have no knowledge about the engine or the fact that said model vehicle has a common problem that may lead to a serious accident. You purchase the car you’ve heard about and end up in an accident that harms not only you but your passengers as well.
I’ve known people who will vote for any candidate at the polls handing out campaign material, with no knowledge of the positions or history of the candidate. Others will vote for the candidate with the most signs, again without researching what the candidate believes or supports. I’ve sat in legislative committee hearings and listened to people testify that they would like to be able to take the ballot home with them for a few days to study the candidates and ballot questions – never mind the fact that sample ballots are available before the election.
If your voting habits are described above, you should probably either change your habits, or stay home on election day.
If you don’t like your options.
Sometimes informed voters will not vote because they don’t like their options. This is a valid reason to not turn in a valid ballot. If I lived in a state that did not allow write-in votes to be cast and “None of these candidates” was not a valid choice on the ballot, I would likely spoil the ballot by writing a message of dissent on the ballot in an effort to make my voice heard, even if it was only heard by the lone ballot clerk who reads my message.
If you want to grow the size, scope, or power of the government.
Over the past 150 years or so, the size, scope, and power of the government has continued to expand. And based on the current make-up of the various legislative bodies across the country, will continue to do so if you don’t cast your ballot for more government.
If you are personally opposed to the concept of voting.
This is also a valid reason not to vote. However, it is not license to zealously berate those who believe they can vote in self-defense.
Now that I’ve listed four reasons I believe people should not vote, I will now explain why I think people should vote.
You should vote if and only if you are informed about the candidates and questions on your ballot, you feel strongly about the outcome of the election and believe your vote can bring about a more free and peaceful society.