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Not Voting May Be the Move 2020

Every four years, we experience mass waves of voter registration efforts and are constantly reminded how important it is to get out and vote. However, rarely do we discuss how not voting in a presidential election may be just as important as voting.

Voting is often interpreted as an authorization of government. When we vote for President, the President with the most electoral votes wins the election. For the next four years, the elected officials in the Congress will have to work with the President, no matter who they may be. By winning an election, political theorists argue that the American people (or, at least, the electoral college) have authorized that candidate's platform for the next four years.

This theory works only if the sample size is representative of the population. That is, if large numbers of people show up to vote in the presidential election, and a candidate wins a significant amount of those votes, then one could argue that their platform has been authorized. Therefore, large voter turnout permits government action or inaction.

Every presidential election essentially comes down to two candidates: the Democrat or the Republican. Operating in the same school of thought, this means that a sample of the voting population in the United States has the choice between two platforms in the general election. The larger fraction of this sample of voters will then choose our country's mission statement for the next four years.

Yes, there are other options when voting. You can vote a third-party candidate or even write Mickey Mouse in if you wanted. These options do little to make a fuss because they are needles in the haystack compared to the successes of the Democratic and Republican candidates. Although you do not have to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican, you have more impact if you vote for the lesser of two evils rather than a third-party or write-in candidate.

Have you tried not voting? I know that this is an unpopular suggestion because every major influencer in the media has reinforced the importance of voting. However, there is power in not voting. Not voting technically gives less authorization and authenticity to the newly selected administration's political agenda. Low-voter turnout would suggest, at least in neo-political science, the people's dissatisfaction and disinterest in the two-party agenda.

In past elections, the major news-media sources have reported that only almost 60% of Americans who are registered to vote have participated in recent elections. This means that more than 40% of registered voters do not even participate in the democratic process. Whether it be that they do not have ease of access to voting or they are just not interested in the current election, a large number of Americans who are registered to vote already opt out.

Maybe we should give this a try; maybe we should stay at home this election. Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, wasting our time on a third-party candidate (who will never actually have a fighting chance until necessary changes are made to our process), or writing Mickey Mouse in, we should exercise our right not to vote.

There's a school of thought that suggests that your dollar is your vote. In a free market, when you choose not to use your money on one business and instead choose another, you decided against the original business. If everyone follow suit, that business will not have enough votes (or money) to remain in business. Thus, the people have spoken and the latter business wins.

Every election we begin engaging in the discussion over the various problems a two-party system has in a country as diverse as the United States. We are all individuals capable of forming our own train of thought, yet every election we nearly neatly categorize ourselves into two schools of thought. Then we almost follow our party's platform without question, repeating almost word for word the same talking points we hear over and over again.

If it's not broken, don't fix it. If voters continue to show up in large amounts, those who have the authority over changing the system will not see a reason to address the concerns that a lot of us are at least privately having. If we do not show up to vote, we are speaking through inaction. We are saying that the current system that we operate under is outdated and needs fixed. If you do not support a candidate's platform enough to make it national law for the next four years, do not make them the leader of the free world for the next four years.

We make every exception for our candidate. We may not agree with them on spending, but they support gay marriage. Or, that one proposal to regulate the addictiveness of social media is really unsettling, but they are the pro-life candidate. We cannot make these exceptions. The government is not like the free market. We only have our one vote to use; we don't have multiple votes to spread around. You have the right to throw your vote away if you do not believe in either candidate. If we decrease voter turnout in future elections, we may see real changes made to our electoral process.

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