This election day, consider not voting

This election day, Ilya Somin reminds us why many people really should stay home, and why the rest of us should consider not voting on down-ticket races and issues unless we know what we’re doing:

As political philosopher Jason Brennan argues, voters have a moral duty to be at least reasonably well-informed about the issues they vote on, because the decisions they make affect not just themselves but all of society. John Stuart Mill put it well when he wrote that voting is not just an exercise of personal choice, but rather “the exercise of power over others.” If you can’t exercise that power in at least a minimally responsible manner, maybe you should not do so at all.

. . . .

[T]he evidence strongly suggests that most people’s political views are only weakly correlated to their self-interest. When voters support bad policies, it is usually out of ignorance rather than selfishness.

I agree.  Instead of passing out “I Voted” stickers on election day, maybe we should pass out “I read a non-fiction book” or “I visited a thoughtful political blog today” stickers on the other days.  Somehow we ought to convey the message that our civic duty requires something more than Googling “who is running for president” on Super Tuesday.

Tim Kowal

Tim Kowal is a husband, father, and attorney in Orange County, California, Vice President of the Orange County Federalist Society, commissioner on the OC Human Relations Commission, and Treasurer of Huntington Beach Tomorrow. The views expressed on this blog are his own. You can follow this blog via RSS, Facebook, or Twitter. Email is welcome at timkowal at


  1. Or vote third party. 😉 First do no harm, then vote for the bugs and bunnies party or the pot party, etc. Make your statement, express yourself!

  2. I will kindly forbear to give my description of the political landscape as I see it.
    Partially because evidence will not be forthcoming, and partially because it would paint a far uglier picture of you than you deserve.
    The misguided are not evil.

  3. Thank goodness we have so many state voting officials helping people arrive at this decision. Especially those who might vote for the other party

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