In the Election Day Scenario, I believe that I ought to go to the polls and vote for Superior to be elected President. First of all, voting is the right that each citizen has or should possess. By choosing to vote, one can fulfill one civic duty of participating in the country’s existence. Second, the potential outcome of voting is much more impactful on my life in comparison to spending the time and money on one day of leisure.
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If the candidate I choose wins, then it is possible that my future will change for the better, and other citizens also will experience improvements in their lives. Therefore, my overall happiness, as well as the level of joy for other people, will increase. In contrast, if I choose to spend the two hours and $20 on a movie or other activity, I will only have fun for a limited time, exposing myself to a higher risk of undesirable consequences of becoming an Inferior President.
The decision to skip voting can be interpreted as a vote for the candidate that I do not wish to see in the Office, seeing as Inferior’s supporters may be more active in their desire to promote this person to the role of President. In cases where Inferior’s followers are similarly inactive, any vote can be influential, even when the odds are as small as 1-in-5,000,000. Here, and in the previous argument, the choice to vote is more impactful for a long-term positive outcome than inaction. This conclusion aligns with the principles of Sidgwick, who poses that each person is bound to aim at decisions that are good not only for oneself but also for others. As the action of voting is not complex, no obstacle stands before me in voting for the preferable candidate.
As a significant counterpoint to my view, one may say that people should not go to the polls or select for themselves whether they should vote. The reason behind this argument may be that each individual decision does not have a significant impact on the final result of the election, and one’s choice not to go should not affect the outcome. While it is reasonable to pose that people have the right to think for themselves, the insignificance of these opinions has to be put up to debate.
First, this counterargument is formulated on the basis of Ethical Egoism, a philosophy where each person is urged to act only in such ways that will benefit them directly (Rachels). The needs of others, in this case, have to be considered only if their fulfillment leads to one’s positive result as well. In the scenario, the option of not going to the polls is described as an opportunity to have fun, while the voting choice is defined as being tedious and time- and money-consuming. Furthermore, while the benefit of Superior to the community is mentioned, there is no discussion about the potential of this candidate in making my personal life better. Thus, one can argue that, by not voting, I am not worsening my life directly, and voting is not necessary because it will not affect my needs.
This line of thinking ignores, however, the interconnectedness of people’s lives and their impact on each other, both direct and indirect. It is highly possible that Superior’s activities will benefit the residents of Elbonia, of which I am a part. Therefore, here lies both direct and indirect positive change for my life and the environment. Furthermore, by deciding not to vote based on the Ethical Egoism principles, one is putting one person over other individuals who may substantially profit from Superior winning the election.
Noting that some people may be unable to vote due to age or other limitations while still potentially benefitting from Superior becoming President, such neglect for others’ needs exposes a position that induces inequality in people’s rights to vote. It also demonstrates that it is impossible for people to be responsible only for their actions and the consequences that these actions bring to society. A person thinking that the choice not to vote affects only them is, therefore, false.
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Following this logic, the argument that an individual voice is insignificant and, thus, one can skip voting is also questionable. Returning to the interconnectedness of people in the community, an argument of people’s input being invaluable becomes illogical when one considers that each voter makes the decision of whether they should vote and who is their candidate of preference. Thus, the sum of these opinions is built from separate viewpoints that other people may also perceive as insignificant.
If I think that my choice cannot change the election, I would likely not vote. If a group of people adheres to the same philosophy, they would not want to vote as well. As a result, the inaction of one person evolves into a passive acceptance of an outcome by whole communities, shifting the seemingly unimportant odds 1-in-5,000,000 into much higher ones. The voice of one person can further disempower others if this individual convinces others not to go to the polls.
The effect of this argument is harmful not only to the person making it but also to other residents, as it increases the overall inactivity, leading to significant changes in potential election outcomes. While it is not morally impermissible for one person to choose not to vote, it is vital to consider that the decision to vote is much more impactful both for the person who votes and for the community. Moreover, as it is the right of each person to vote, it is also their opportunity to use their voice for the country’s future.
By giving up this chance, one may argue that they waste a resource that would otherwise introduce some potential benefit to their lives. Overall, the argument that voting is unnecessary because one’s individual opinion cannot be impactful is not supported in a reality where one’s actions and choices are not isolated to the person who makes them.