OPINION | Vote based on your conscience, not on electability

Community members should vote with their consciences in this election, and nothing more.

If that means voting third party—or not at all—students, faculty and staff should do so.

Voting is a symbolic act.

In a nation of nearly 320 million people, individual votes may not carry much weight.

However, citizens should use their votes not only to help the best candidate win but to make a statement about their beliefs.

Many people who decided to vote for one of the two main-party candidates do not like either one.

Seeing what the vote would look like if no one compromised his or her beliefs in the voting booth would be incredibly interesting.

One reason for this is the Electoral College.

In short, the Electoral College can move against the popular vote or, at the very least, cheapen elections down to the coveted swing states.

Some states poll at a large margin one way or the other.

Indiana has a high chance of “going red,” and its electoral representatives will likely vote for Mitt Romney.

This makes Indiana a decided vote, so the candidates are unlikely to make stops here.

Scott Swanson, associate professor of history, said neither of the two major candidates represents his bases anymore.

Many Democrats disagree with President Barack Obama, and many Republicans seemed to despise Romney just a few months ago, Swanson said.

“There is no easy answer” to the Electoral College and big-tent party problems, Swanson said.

One possible solution is that voters could demonstrate their frustration with the system by voting for other candidates.

But even bigger problems than lack of representation of public opinion could arise.

“Democracy requires an informed electorate,” Swanson said. “I’m not sure we have one.  I’m not sure we have an electorate anymore.”

In the 2008 election, nearly 57 percent of the voting population went to the ballot box. This percentage was the highest in recent history.

In 2010, less than 38 percent of elligable voters voted.

But as Swanson said, the populace does not appear very informed on some issues here.

Candidates rarely have to explain their catchphrases.

Neither candidate really bothers to explain how he’ll fulfill all his promises.

Romney, on one hand, claims he’ll cut government costs while improving homeland security and domestic funding.

He also said that he’ll slash safety net plans to a criminally low level—and his Ayn Rand fan vice president nominee, Paul Ryan, polishes that image.

Obama, on the other hand, promises to keep the middle class strong through sustaining those programs.

However, he extended the “Bush-era tax cuts” that keep taxes lower for the upper class.

He handed out a several -hundred billion-dollar bailout to Wall Street and the auto industry and allowed the same companies to continue bleeding workers.

Voting for a third party candidate  or not voting as a protest might have some appeal over voting for one of the two main-party candidates.

However, analysts frequently attribute laziness and apathy to non-voters.

Voting third party makes a clear statement about being frustrated with the current system.

One could call voting with one’s conscience on Election Day idealism.

What is horrific about a vote tally that represents the nation’s ideals?


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