Choosing Not to Vote
June 7, 2006 8:53 PM   Subscribe

Is abstaining from voting in an American election...

1) A vote of no confidence in any of the presented choices?

or

2) An affirmation of the status quo?
posted by TetrisKid to Law & Government (73 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I vote the latter.

I also think having "no confidence in any of the presented choices" is not a good reason not to vote. There are massive differences between the parties and the candidates, and anyone who thinks they're the same (like Nader in 2000 and 2004) is just flat-out wrong. If you accept that, then not having "confidence" in any of them isn't the same thing as deciding one is likely to be better or worse than the other. (If Bush has a 0.03% chance of being a good president, and Kerry has a 10% chance of being a good president, it's still worth voting for Kerry.)
posted by raf at 8:56 PM on June 7, 2006


It's the latter.

It shouldn't be, but it is. Not voting basically just means you're giving away a vote to the greater of the 2 evils you're looking at because of the general complacency of most of this country.

I'll stop before I go on a long rant...
posted by twiggy at 8:57 PM on June 7, 2006


3. A non-verbal understanding that perhaps you aren't adequately prepared to cast an informative vote.

4. A boycott of the current political system.

5. Any or all of the above.

Not voting is not a simple matter. There are a great deal of reasons not to vote and it's not simply voter apathy/laziness/ignorance.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:05 PM on June 7, 2006


Like everything else, it depends.

Voting does make more of a difference if you vote third party.

Those numbers count in fund allocation, so if you are inclined to vote third party, I would say it is especially important to get out to the polls.
posted by 1fish2fish at 9:07 PM on June 7, 2006


Good point, seizetheday.
posted by 1fish2fish at 9:10 PM on June 7, 2006


As shown with previous elections, every vote counts. A choice between two candidates is still a choice. Many citizens of other countries don't even get a say. Most elections usually just result in having to pick the lesser of the evils, but there is still the ability to have a vote and impact the system.

Though I recognize that many people choose not to vote out of reasons other than laziness and apathy, it is no excuse for passing on a civic responsibility and the chance to directly affect their life and their government. I'm of the opinion that if you don't vote, you forfeit your right to complain about politics.

It might just be a sad state of affairs when more people in the US vote for America Idol than for the President (link). That's just my two cents.
posted by galimatias at 9:12 PM on June 7, 2006


Option 2. Tacit approval. Sadly, we aren't given the option of a "no confidence" vote.

According to this page at the U.S. Census Bureau there are "281,421,906 people (April 1, 2000)" in the U.S. According to this page at CNN, Bush won the 2004 election by 51% of the voting population, 62,040,606 votes. According to those numbers, Bush's "Mandate" ammounted to about 22% of the voting populace.

...rant rant rant rant...

So, I'd say that non-voters get lumped in with the votes of the winning party. To the victor goes the spoils. The winner gets to overwrite the message that non-voters were trying to send with his own.
posted by lekvar at 9:16 PM on June 7, 2006


It might just be a sad state of affairs when more people in the US vote for America Idol than for the President (link).

Why do people continue to repeat this useless stat?

When anyone (including children/teens/etc) is able to vote for a President by phone (or text message), then we can draw a comparison.
posted by jca at 9:19 PM on June 7, 2006


Incumbents (i.e. the "status quo") have a greater chance of re-election, or it can be said that incumbents place a negative pressure on voters to select challengers.

Therefore, abstaining from a vote is generally statistically equivalent to a non-zero, if fractional vote for the incumbent, since the absence of your vote will usually weigh the results in that person's favor (except for noise outliers like public scandals, populist referendums, etc.).
posted by Mr. Six at 9:19 PM on June 7, 2006


6. A tangible expression of confidence in the ability of the 40% of Americans who vote to do a decent job. After all, they haven't blown us up yet, have they? We seem to be doing okay. It's not like France, where during the last Presidential election, everyone who wasn't voting suddenly woke up and realized that the racist Le Pen was in the runoff, and must be defeated. Here we can pretty much rely on people not to elect far-right extremists. Steven Den Beste has done some great writing about why the electoral college is a great moderating influence on our politics.

Why the electoral college, two-party system, and no instant-runoff voting are good for us.
posted by evariste at 9:19 PM on June 7, 2006


Here we can pretty much rely on people not to elect far-right extremists. Or far-left, of course.
posted by evariste at 9:20 PM on June 7, 2006


"There are a great deal of reasons not to vote and it's not simply voter apathy/laziness/ignorance."

Doesn't it make more sense to do a write-in so that your intentions are perfectly clear?
posted by esch at 9:23 PM on June 7, 2006


7. No instant "reward" for doing it, and no instant "punishment" for not doing it. Even if you find out on a Wednesday in November that the guy you voted in for President won, he's not gonna take office till January. Even after he's had four years in office, he probably won't really have had much effect on the great Leviathan that is the federal bureaucracy. There's just a great deal of inertia in our politics. Elected representatives come and go, and the bureaucratic machinery just sort of sits there, outlasts them, and defies them.
posted by evariste at 9:26 PM on June 7, 2006


2.

A win is a win is a win. Whoever wins perceives a mandate.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:27 PM on June 7, 2006


I have a friend who goes to the polls every election and submits a blank ballot, doing his part to prevent the percentages on TV from ever adding up to a hundred. If you really want to vote no confidence, I think this is a better tactic than not voting.
posted by scottreynen at 9:39 PM on June 7, 2006


In your heart you might want it to be 1) but the reality is that it comes across as 2).
posted by bingo at 9:40 PM on June 7, 2006


When anyone (including children/teens/etc) is able to vote for a President by phone (or text message), then we can draw a comparison.

Quite, but you've also missed another point. You can vote for Idol as many times as you like.

The stat as quoted is meaningless and incorrect. There weren't more voters, there were just more votes.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:56 PM on June 7, 2006


Voter apathy is a serious problem... probably second only to district gerrymandering in terms of threats to our democracy.

If you don't like the two major parties there are often independent alternatives - and you can always write someone in.

Fact is only 10% of the US population are politically engaged - meaning they pay attention to politics and have a general understanding of how our government works. Of the remaining 90% the nonvoters make up a significant portion. (Maybe half?)

There's actually a lot of data and analysis out there about nonvoters... but I'm too tired to dig up any links. It's the stuff of mid-level political science courses.

People don't vote for a variety of reasons. For instance as we saw in 2004 the 18 to 24 set can't be relied upon to go out and vote in any significant numbers in the absence of a draft.

Anyway, you should either vote or assemble a militia and lay siege to a state capital of your choice... either is better than just sitting at home.
posted by wfrgms at 11:33 PM on June 7, 2006


It's #2; a vote for the status-quo.

The problem I have with people who don't vote but say, "both guys were unworthy of my vote" is that it's usually pretty hard to tell if they've really done some deep thinking to arrive at that conclusion, or if they're just rationalizing their laziness.

If you really don't like either of the major candiates, vote for a third party. At least I can no longer accuse you of being too lazy to vote.
posted by IvyMike at 11:37 PM on June 7, 2006


Not only is there a loss of confidence in the candidates, but thanks to accusations of conflicted interests directed at makers of electronic voting systems, there's a question of the integrity of vote counting itself.

Option 2 reminds me of the obnoxious refrain, "If you don't vote, don't complain." If you do vote, is that enough? Does it rule out laziness or apathy? There's the broader question of whether people are cognizant of the political landscape, and I think that determines what involvement, of any degree, means. I'd rather be an informed voter who abstains from making choices I don't understand than one who makes arbitrary choices out of pressure to do so.

Any vote will (supposedly) be counted, but if it doesn't have a basis in research, it's still just the consent of an ignorant person.
posted by evil holiday magic at 11:52 PM on June 7, 2006


Why would anyone not vote rather than vote for third party? It puzzles me. Maybe you like both main candidates, maybe (more likely) you hate them both. Perhaps your candidate is guaranteed to win (or lose) anyway. Each of these situation is an opportunity to recast the election as a legally-binding special issues pool. Just vote for the third party that points in the direction you would like the country to take.

Canada legalized medical marijuana soon after the 2000 election. The Marijuana Party had collected 0.52% of the votes. They were the second largest third-party after the green party. This brought the subject to the table and legitimized it. After the election, the discussion moved forward briskly, and legalization happened in 2003.

Quebec has entirely changed the course of its history when it started voting for a brand new, wet-behind-the-ears third party. In 1970, the Partie Quebecois earned 20% of the vote in its first election run. Six years after they were in power, and after another four after they ran the 1980 referendum. None of than would have happened if, like in the USA, Quebecois maintained that a third party vote is a wasted votes.

Even if no third party is attractive to you, you should still vote for some random third party. That vote means: "I am aware and politically active. My vote will go to the first group that will caters to my interests. Court me."

Plus what evariste said. Not voting isn't a protest, it's a deference to the rest of the population.
posted by gmarceau at 11:54 PM on June 7, 2006


8. Ignorance of or disdain for the millions of people who have suffered and even died so that you get to have that vote. The least you can do is use it. World wars have been fought so that we can have free and fair elections without tyranny. That you vote at all is arguably much more important than who you vote for. Exercising your democratic rights is one way to help prevent losing them.
posted by normy at 12:10 AM on June 8, 2006


This is going well.
posted by evil holiday magic at 12:37 AM on June 8, 2006


Um. Not voting is not voting.

If you stay home to protest both major parties, you're protesting. If you stay home because you're vaguely okay with either one, you're vaguely affirming whatever happens. If you stay home because your gods demand that you not participate politically, you're avoiding eternal damnation.

Do you mean what effect does it have? In a presidential election? You staying home or voting doesn't have the slightest effect on anything except your own feelings.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:49 AM on June 8, 2006


I would say (and this thread seems to reinforce it) that abstaining from voting presents a blank slate for people to read into it what they like. If you want to communicate your preferences more precisely, vote. (But "more" precisely does not necessarily mean very precise at all.)

A relatively non-terrible way of voting no-confidence is to vote for opposing parties on different parts of the ticket – vote in gridlock, essentially – but this sort of thing would have to be coordinated somehow.
posted by furiousthought at 1:00 AM on June 8, 2006


It depends if you're talking about the motivation for abstaining, or the effect of abstaining.

Actually, even if you're talking about the personal motivation only, it doesn't matter. What counts is the effect.

You could be abstaining out of some deep, informed dissatisfaction with The System, but the effect of your non-vote will be exactly the same as the non-vote of someone else who's not voting simply out of apathy, lack of any interest in politics, ignorance, or because he doesn't believing in government and lives in a cabin stacked with guns and automatic rifles.

It's a mistake to think only about your motivation, rather than the consequences. That is the exact opposite of effective protest. Protest must be concerned with the outcomes, not with some perfectionist self-serving feeling of never doing anything you don't fully believe in 100%. Your conscience is not going to run the country. You're not voting for your conscience.

Now, I totally understand that in the US, because there's only two parties, and with such powerful and wealthy lobbies behind them, with such things as corporations and military etc. being pretty much an unelected party to their own, and with presidents having so much unchecked power, one could easily slip into the idea that your vote doesn't really matter, it won't change anything, it's one or the other and they may not be the same but they're not exciting choices anyway, etc; whereas in a system with more parties, one could still get that very same kind of dissatisfaction, but be more eager to vote because, say there's an extremist party and they stand a chance of getting a significant percentage. The more fanatical and fringe voters are those keener to vote when they are being mobilised by a precise political figure or party with very specific and effective populist campaigns. So, say, with only a 55% voter turnout, that party can get a 10% or 15% of the total vote, whereas with a 85% turnout, they'll get only 4% (random numbers, not a precise calculation).

In a two-party system, those fringes still exist, they just are absorbed within the biggest parties, so you wouldn't immediately see the same fringe-reducing effect of a higher voter turnout.

But the idea is the same. The less people go to vote, the more power they hand over to the fringes, and the less responsibility politicians feel towards the electorate. After all, they can screw you over how many times they like, if they see fewer and fewer people turning out to vote, it's even more incentive to screw you over again and again and again.
posted by funambulist at 1:33 AM on June 8, 2006


A relatively non-terrible way of voting no-confidence is to vote for opposing parties on different parts of the ticket – vote in gridlock, essentially – but this sort of thing would have to be coordinated somehow.

That is just as bad, if not worse, than not voting. You'd be trying to bring about the very same situation that led to elections being decided by judges...
posted by funambulist at 1:46 AM on June 8, 2006


I'd rather be an informed voter who abstains from making choices I don't understand than one who makes arbitrary choices out of pressure to do so.

I do understand that, but it is so self-defeating. You're making that arbitrary non-informed vote count more than yours. And you're doing nothing to bring about better options to vote for. It's the very same as apathy, even if the motive is different.

22% of the percentage of Americans who are entitled to vote have had a massive impact on the present and future of the entire world. It is not good. That's all I'm gonna say. I'll shut up now, I feel a little too strongly on this.
posted by funambulist at 1:53 AM on June 8, 2006


If there is a real difference between the candidates (such as the likelihood of involving your country in war), and if the election looks as if it will be close, your not voting is the same as you saying you don't care whether or not there's a war, you don't care whether people come home in wheel chairs or body bags or not at all, you don't care whether some country is ripped apart by your army and air force. Whichever side you're on -- there are always plenty on both sides -- you have to vote or you have to admit that you just don't care what happens.

Look at all the draft-age people around you, look at their healthy strong arms and legs, and ask yourself whether it matters that they keep them. You can call abstention a "vote of no confidence" or an "affirmation of the status quo" or whatever you like, but it won't put arms and legs back on anyone.
posted by pracowity at 2:43 AM on June 8, 2006


I do understand that, but it is so self-defeating. You're making that arbitrary non-informed vote count more than yours. And you're doing nothing to bring about better options to vote for. It's the very same as apathy, even if the motive is different.

My comments were mostly theoretical, since I have been voting -- but only on things I've researched. In the last half hour before the polls closed, I got the chance to vote on the 6th here in CA's 4th district. I actually came upon some judicial seats -- names I hadn't researched -- and embarrassed, I shouted to the poll workers, asking whether I would be forced to choose between them. A woman responded with a resounding "No." Her philosophy, she said, was that anything you put down will be counted, so when in doubt don't pick anything. Finally, she elaborated that they ought to put a sign up explaining as much right off so people wouldn't vote ignorantly.

In a desperate attempt to keep friends of mine away from voting randomly and on the spot among the more obscure items, I've sent out spreadsheets with my recommendations and links to research of who's funding what, and what candidates have done before.

My point is that ignorance and general apathy toward understanding things is more problematic than voter apathy. If we do nothing to change how the system works with regard to lobbyists, voting methods, etc., it will remain very much "their" system, with the will of the people easily undermined.
posted by evil holiday magic at 2:46 AM on June 8, 2006


Look at all the draft-age people around you, look at their healthy strong arms and legs, and ask yourself whether it matters that they keep them.

I ask myself the same question when I see someone going 60MPH down a tiny residential street. Ignorance and selfishness are a way of life, not a choice that comes up every four years.
posted by evil holiday magic at 2:49 AM on June 8, 2006


Sadly, most of you are wrong.

Not voting is = consenting with the majority.


It's not protesting, it's not abstaining, or any of that. You can say it is all you want. You can say it's noble or ethical or whatever. You can also say that criminal negligence was just an accident.

The impact of your actions negates any contrary motive when the impact is readily obvious... so, yeah...

Not Voting = Consenting with the Majority.

Protesting is an active statement, not voting is just sitting on your ass.

Uninformed voting is not necessarily immoral... even people who think they are informed are more often uninformed themselves, and frequently even misinformed. Is willful ignorance immoral? Better check out the implications of that argument...
posted by ewkpates at 3:40 AM on June 8, 2006


My point is that ignorance and general apathy toward understanding things is more problematic than voter apathy.

They both are a problem, and they don't need to be mutually exclusive, in fact, they feed each other, and if you want to reduce both problems you got to tackle them together.

[long rant deleted out of self-censorship, with many kind thoughts addressed to that 49% (!!!!!!) who didn't go vote]
posted by funambulist at 3:58 AM on June 8, 2006


If anyone on MetaFilter needs motivation to vote, you should vote in order to cancel me out. I vote for people like George Bush enthusiastically. Seriously. So if you think sitting around because your vote doesn't count is a good idea, think of me personally as motivation to get out and vote.
posted by evariste at 4:03 AM on June 8, 2006


Sorry, that should be 40% who didn't go vote, not 49%. It's still a huge number.
posted by funambulist at 4:05 AM on June 8, 2006


*applause to evariste*

Seriously, I may not respect your political ideas and choices (if I may put it in such an extremely bland and polite manner), but at least you went and put your money where your mouth is. Kudos for that. I really have a lot less respect for the attitude of those who didn't vote, no matter why they chose to do so.

How much information do you need anyway, to decide whether to vote for Bush or anyone else? I can't think of a more polarising choice than that. Polarising choices normally drive people to the polls in mass. There has to be something a lot deeper there than a perceived lack of good options.
posted by funambulist at 4:13 AM on June 8, 2006


funambulist-(if I may put it in such an extremely bland and polite manner)
You're a true diplomat ;-)

I became eligible to vote in 1998, and have voted in every single election I have been eligible for. I intend to continue to do so.

In 2000, perceiving not a whole lot of difference between Bush and Gore, I voted for Nader, who was at least saying interesting things about the disproportionate power of corporations in modern-day America.

So even when I knew I was "throwing my vote away", I still voted. I came quite close to writing in Jello Biafra, but the hassle the election workers gave me when I tried to write in my vote convinced me that it wouldn't be counted, and I stuck with Nader, who was at least on the (push-button-thingy) ballot.

I'm gonna stick with my earlier statement that many people don't vote because they trust their fellow Americans and the system in general. But if you have strong opinions about politics, then for chrissakes, vote! If you're a smoker who has driven ten or twenty miles to get a pack of your preferred brand of cigarettes (American Spirits forever!), if you're a pothead who meets his dealer in the park, if you've ever waited from 9 AM to 3 PM for the cable installer to show up, then you've shown a whole lot of tolerance for inconvenience in order to get something you want. I realize how little I deserve the incredible privilege it is to vote and help name the people who run the government that in many ways runs the world. If you have a "think globally, act locally" mentality, then friggin' drive down to the local elementary school or library and cast your ballot! It really does mean something.

Don't you want to be the kind of person who votes and participates? What is the problem here? Be heard! Even if you vote for a guy like Nader or Kucinich. If you have ever driven or bicycled or walked even one block, around the corner to the Circle K, to buy a goddamn lottery ticket because the Powerball Jackpot was up to $300 million, then you have no goddamn excuse not to vote. The Federal government probably spends $300 million every couple of hours. This stuff matters!
posted by evariste at 4:31 AM on June 8, 2006


Not voting is an implicit vote for the candidate you hate most, because you could have given the vote to his opponent.

Hate Bush? Didn't Vote? You implicitly accepted his rule. You could have done something, but you didn't. Hate Kerry? Didn't Vote? You implicitly tried to vote Bush out of office, because you could have voted for him, but didn't.
posted by eriko at 4:42 AM on June 8, 2006


Heh. The Feds actually spend over 300 million bucks EVERY SINGLE HOUR.
posted by evariste at 4:42 AM on June 8, 2006


Sadly, most of you are wrong.

Not voting is = consenting with the majority.


By the same logic that not having a concept of gods still labels one with respect to them. Stating something aggressively doesn't elevate it to fact.

There are practical realities at stake, but voting itself doesn't address them: as you pull the trigger, you hope that the measures you endorse are for real, and that the politicians aren't lying about everything, and then you have a beer and watch Lost.

Much of the population is not informed, not involved, not interested. We're lucky if they don't vote, since their opinions are as helpful as that other thing common to all of us. If people need guilt and slogans to roust them to something, I don't have much confidence in their reasoning. They should put fucking trivia on the ballots, so our vote will be counted only if we can demonstrate some modicum of comprehension.

Of course I want "my side" to win, but as a voter it's plain to me that it may be enough to fulfill someone's sense of obligation, but it hasn't been enough on my part to change a goddamn thing.
posted by evil holiday magic at 4:44 AM on June 8, 2006


How about this?

Voting = Minimal Effort
posted by evil holiday magic at 4:55 AM on June 8, 2006


3. A non-verbal understanding that perhaps you aren't adequately prepared to cast an informative vote.

When I abstain, this is exactly why. I realize that abstaining is, in effect, not just abstaining, but (a) I'm not well informed enough to make a smart decision, (b) I feel it's irresponsible to vote when I'm uninformed, and (c) I'm too selfish with my time to spend it getting informed. I'm not proud of that last point, but I HATE politics. Informing myself is not the least bit fun for me. It's something I know I SHOULD do. But I don't.

I have grappled with this several times on AskMe (here, here and here.)
posted by grumblebee at 5:15 AM on June 8, 2006


Regardless of the varied reasons/justifications, not voting's net effect is to further the status quo. So in that sense, it's an odd sort of protest where the action works to achieve the very thing the protest is thought to be demonstrating against. For a good analysis of this, I suggest reading D.F.W.'s "Up, Simba" which is in his most recent collection of essays, "Consider the Lobster."
posted by herc at 5:43 AM on June 8, 2006


I'm gonna stick with my earlier statement that many people don't vote because they trust their fellow Americans and the system in general.

In America, the system is broken. Choosing not to participate in a corrupt system is a legimate choice. See the September 2005 GAO report for more details:

While electronic voting systems hold promise for a more accurate and efficient election process, numerous entities have raised concerns about their security and reliability, citing instances of weak security controls, system design flaws, inadequate system version control, inadequate security testing, incorrect system configuration, poor security management, and vague or incomplete voting system standards, among other issues. For example, studies found (1) some electronic voting systems did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected; (2) it was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate; and (3) vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level. It is important to note that many of the reported concerns were drawn from specific system makes and models or from a specific jurisdiction’s election, and that there is a lack of consensus among election officials and other experts on the pervasiveness of the concerns. Nevertheless, some of these concerns were reported to have caused local problems in federal elections—resulting in the loss or miscount of votes—and therefore merit attention.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:22 AM on June 8, 2006


A family member of mine often rationalizes political indifference by noting that all politicians are crooked, that choosing one is like sticking a hand in a bag of poisonous snakes (i.e. any would bite you). The problem with this statement is that it takes what seems to be the major voting issues for the American public and it lets those issues override all considerations. In other words, voters like this family member are primarily concerned with whether a politician lies or not and whether they would raise taxes. I wish it was part of American high school civics instruction to teach people "Politicians lie. Politicians raise taxes." That's practically a fact of life.

There are still major differences between the parties. While both parties are corrupted by the influence of major corporate interests, those interests are themselves quite different. Speaking very broadly, the Republican party is beholden to weapons manufacture, some vice manufacture, and energy giants (like the infamous Halliburton and Enron). The Democrats are tied to trial lawyers, the entertainment industry and professional unions. I'm sure more astute observers could suggest more.

It stuns me that people my age, people I know, couldn't see the difference in a vote for Bush or Gore. You don't even have to be anti-war to consider how different a Gore presidency would have been in dealing with Iraq. Would the Gore White House have pressured the CIA and other agencies to create a buildup for going to war to secure energy resources? Would the Gore White House have created the Patriot Act? Would the Gore White House be spying on massive amounts of Americans with the NSA? Would the Gore White House have pushed for a ban on gay marriage? Would the Gore White House (or Kerry) have nominated Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court?

It's clear where my politics stand, but even if you agree with everything Bush has done, then clearly you'd think Gore wouldn't have done it the same way. The point is, if you somehow think Bush or Gore are equivalent or are equivalently evil somehow in their personalities, the actual effect of placing one versus the other in office is radically different.

I honestly think that refusing to vote because you think both candidates are personally evil is childish. People in general want to have an unhealthy infatuation and admiration for their leaders. Think about the kind of personality it takes to say "I want to lead the most powerful country in the world." Don't you think that kind of person is automatically different from the average? ...Probably in some ways that are pretty ugly up-close?

Given the way the current administration in particular has raised the global stakes, I don't see how it matters if a candidate is obnoxious, rude, slimy, whatever. What matters is how that candidate will carry out the responsibilities of the office.
posted by Slothrop at 6:38 AM on June 8, 2006


If you assume that people act rationally and in their own best interest, not voting is perfectly rational and reasonable behavior.

Imagine the left-right spectrum that represents the political views of the entire population. It seems likely that the distribution of this spectrum takes the shape of a bell curve, since a few people are extremely liberal (left), and a few are hardcore conservatives (right), but the majority of us fall somewhere in between. The generally-accepted median voter model predicts that, in order to win the election in a two-party system, candidates need to be just slightly closer to the center than their opponent, since the center represents the fat part of the curve where the large number of voters lie.

This is the reason that people complained that Bush and Gore were too similar--both were trying to win that large pool of median voters. Their platforms end up looking about the same, which means that, for the majority of people it really doesn't matter that much who gets elected.
(Certainly, given Iraq, etc. you can argue that it does matter now, but at the time it didn't).

Given this, for the majority of people, the opportunity costs associated with voting--taking time out of their day, the inconvenience of waiting in line at the polls, driving to the polling station, spending time to learn about the candidates, etc.--far outweigh the personal benefits of having their preferred candidate elected.

Another way to think about it is opportunity costs vs. the chance that your vote actually matters--as in your vote is the one that decides the election. The odds of your vote being the deciding one are really, really small (1/n where n is the total number of votes cast), so, looking at it this way, again not voting seems like pretty rational behavior.

So why do people vote? The political science and econcomics literature argues that it is generally because of a personal sense of civic responsibility or personal psychological benefits. If voting makes you feel good about yourself in these ways, it is possible that these personal benefits of voting would outweigh the costs discussed above and therefore you would vote. This also explains why people wear those "I voted" stickers.
posted by jtfowl0 at 6:42 AM on June 8, 2006


It's entertaining that everyone is concentrating on presidential elections when local elections are more likely to have an effect on your day-to-day life. I went out to vote on Tuesday of this week in a gubenatorial primary election. The state attorney general, county auditor, and other elected positions were also on the ballot, but only one of them had more than one candidate running -- and in that case, I didn't know anything about either candidate so I abstained from that part of the election. In essence, I went to select one candidate for governor from a list of four.

If I had chosen to vote as a republican in the primary, I would have had only one listed gubenatorial candidate. So, choosing not to vote in that election could be considered tacit agreement with the available choices, or an admission that there were no viable choices.
posted by mikeh at 6:50 AM on June 8, 2006


Many good points here.

I'd like to add that voting, in America (and probably elsewhere, too), is both a practical act and a symbolic act. We've covered the practical angle already, so I'd like to say a few words about the symbolic.

As mentioned above, I rarely vote. When most people discover this, they get upset. I've been chastised many times. (And I agree with some of the chastisement, and it's something I'm working on, but I'm making a different point here.) My chastisers bring up the same sort of practical points discussed in this thread, e.g. by not voting, I'm effectively casting a vote for the status quo. But that's not all they bring up.

Often, I've been told that I should vote because people died to give me the right to vote. In one such argument, someone stood up for me and said, "No, people died to give him the right to CHOOSE whether or not he wants to vote." But in either case, the discussion had shifted from practicality to symbolism: I should vote because voting is a symbol of honor for fallen heroes.

I also think voting -- or rather discussing who you're going to vote for and why (and talking politics in general) -- is a symbol for intelligence. I'm reminded of those bygone days when, after dinner, the women would retire to the drawing room and gossip, while the men would stay around the table, break out the cigars, and talk politics (i.e. not frivolous "women's" talk.) Voting symbolizes "I take things seriously."

The men could talk just as intelligently about philosophy, history, art, etc. -- and the probably do/did -- but politics is the most concise shorthand for "and intelligent conversation." It's often used in films/plays/stories to indicate just this.

Also, you need specialized knowledge to talk history or philosophy. To talk politics, you need to read the newspaper.

Voting symbolizes "I care about my community/country." It also symbolizes "I care about my team." (i.e. democrat/republican.) A subtle point here, but it also says, "I care to join A team." I'm not sure I understand why, but Americans seem very suspicious of people who won't join a team (maybe because they feel insecure if they can't classify you???). Homosexual or heterosexual is better than bisexual, atheist and theist is better than agnostic, democrat and republican is better than no affiliation. America is, in general, team oriented -- right down to our legal system.

Here's an interesting thought experiment. If you're someone who gets angry when someone abstains (or if you feel guilty when you abstain), imagine an election with a forgone conclusion: polls show that 95% of the population are going to vote for candidate A.

Also imagine that you're part of an odd electoral system where the winner is announced but no one ever reveals the specific voter breakdown. So, when the election ends, we'll only know that A is the winner -- we won't know by how much. So no ones vote can make a political point (in the form of an extra number for the opposition).

Finally, lets say that a random non-voter doesn't discuss his abstinence with anyone (so he doesn't sway anyone one way or the other).

So, his non-vote doesn't change the outcome, and it doesn't make a practical point. The only person who knows he didn't vote is him.

Do you still feel -- on any level -- that he should have voted. If you do, I'm NOT claiming you're silly or wrong. I'm claiming -- or I strongly suspect -- that you partly endorse voting as a symbolic act, maybe even as a quasi religious/spiritual duty. I realize that this "thought experiment" is completely unrealistic. I'm not trying to sway people to vote or not vote; I'm trying to tease the symbolic from the practical.
posted by grumblebee at 6:55 AM on June 8, 2006


One more thing: voting is a (partly) symbolic act, but many smart, political people have a vested interest in denying this (or at least that has been my experience in discussion, though admittedly I run the risk of believing that everyone who doesn't agree with me is in denial!)

If voting/politics = intelligence, and if intelligence = pure reason (it needn't, but to many it does), then there's no place in an intelligent discussion for anything as "flaky" as symbolism, faith-based reasoning, feelings and hunches. Everything must necessarily be practical.
posted by grumblebee at 7:02 AM on June 8, 2006


gmarceau: Canada legalized medical marijuana soon after the 2000 election. The Marijuana Party had collected 0.52% of the votes. They were the second largest third-party after the green party.

Sounds impressive, but ahead of the Greens (and Marijuana Party) that year were the Liberals, the Canadian Alliance, the New Democrats, the Progressive Conservatives, and the Bloc Québecois, which would make the Marijuana Party the fifth-largest third party (unless we had four second parties that year).</nitpick>
posted by hangashore at 7:40 AM on June 8, 2006


There are a lot of reasons for not voting. What it comes down to is letting somebody else decide. No one can tell your intent when you don't vote. For what it's worth, conservatives and old people are significantly more likely to vote. A lot of poor, liberal, and young people are letting other people decide for them.
posted by theora55 at 7:40 AM on June 8, 2006


I realize that this "thought experiment" is completely unrealistic.

Well there you go, grumblebee. If it's unrealistic I don't see the point of considering it. I can't think of a democratic country where anyone would get 95% of the vote with a high turnout.

But I can think of a country or two where every single vote did actually count, and low turnout did actually have an impact...

I don't believe voting equals intelligence/pure reason, or is a symbolic act, or any theoretical definition. It's practical, even the principle is practical: regardless of results, lower turnout means higher disinterest among citizens means less accountability for politicians. I don't see what's so faith-based about it?
posted by funambulist at 7:43 AM on June 8, 2006


1. Not voting (regardless of the political statement it makes) proportionally increases the weight of the votes that people actually cast. If you disagree with the majority, you're effectively giving them a bigger piece of the pie by not voting.
2. Lekvar: There may be 281 million people in the USA, but many of them cannot vote (children/immigrants/etc). 2000 voter turnout stats are here.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:00 AM on June 8, 2006


It's not #1 beacause the answer to that is to do your duty, as a free citizen. Your duty is to run for political office if you think there's nobody even CLOSE to deserving it out there.

It is #2 because that's the end result.
posted by shepd at 8:11 AM on June 8, 2006


gmarceau, the roles of third parties in the U.S. and in a parliamentary government like Canada's are so unlike as to not make for a meaningful comparison. Voting for third parties in a parliamentary system really can and routinely does make a difference; in the U.S., it tends to have the same effect as not voting (though the arguments over the exact effects of third party candidacies on individual races are infinite.)

I say all this as a U.S. voter who was registered Green for a long time and who's cast several votes for third party candidates (over the course several different elections, that is.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:50 AM on June 8, 2006


I realize that this "thought experiment" is completely unrealistic.

Well there you go, grumblebee. If it's unrealistic I don't see the point of considering it.


There's a reason why we consider unrealistic hypotheticals. It's sometimes easier to see the squirrels when you remove all the trees -- even if, in reality, the trees are always there.

My point was that by setting up an extreme situation, we might learn something about our psychology. Similarly, if I imagine my wife in a horrible, disfiguring accident -- one that she's unlikely to experience in real life -- I may learn something about the strength of my love for her.

I don't know what you mean by, "I don't believe voting equals intelligence/pure reason, or is a symbolic act."

Do you mean that it's not a symbolic act for YOU? If so, you won't get any argument from me. You are the only one who knows what's symbolic for you, and I readily bow to your expertise.

Do you mean that voting doesn't have symbolic power for ANYONE? Do you mean that it might have symbolic power for a few oddballs, but that it doesn't for most people?

Maybe we're miscommunicating. I wasn't claiming that people should vote for symbolic reasons. All I'm saying is that voting/not-voting is a highly emotional issue for many people (as evidenced by the strong opinions in this thread), and most highly-charged subjects become -- for many of us -- larger than themselves. They become symbols. Think marriage, love, revenge, freedom, etc.

So I was trying to -- unrealistically, as I admitted -- peel away all the utility from voting to see if there's anything else to it. If a significant number of people feel like, "you know, even if you could prove to me that my vote made no difference, I would still vote -- or at least feel a bit guilty if I didn't..." then voting is, at least partially, a symbolic act.

Dieting is like that for me. I know I shouldn't drink Coke, because it's full of empty calories. But if I could somehow find a cola that's calorie free, I should -- If I'm 100% rational/practical -- have no problem drinking it. And, of course, such sodas exist. So why do I feel a tiny twinge of guilt when I chug a Fresca? Because I'm NOT 100% rational. Because I spent years associating cola with "BAD FOR ME." So now any cola, whether it's rational to feel this or not, is symbolic for "BAD FOR ME."
posted by grumblebee at 10:53 AM on June 8, 2006


TetrisKid: are you asking about motivations, or consequences?

In terms of consequences, because voter turnout is so unevenly distributed, the interests of groups with higher turnout rates will be given more importance. In Canada, among people over 65, voter participation is over 80%. Among young voters, it's 20-25%. Hence health care gets a lot more attention than education.

Similarly, in the US, the voter participation rates among the affluent are much higher than among the poor.

In the long term, declining voter turnout diminishes the legitimacy of the political system. In 2004, Bush only received votes from about 30% of registered voters.

grumblebee: Do you still feel -- on any level -- that he should have voted.

Yes.

If you do, I'm NOT claiming you're silly or wrong. I'm claiming -- or I strongly suspect -- that you partly endorse voting as a symbolic act, maybe even as a quasi religious/spiritual duty.

I see it as a civic responsibility, like paying your taxes. It may be time-consuming and unpleasant, but you still need to do it.

In Australia, voting has been compulsory in federal elections since 1924. (If I recall correctly, voter turnout was low because rural voters had to travel a long way to get to polling stations; instant-runoff voting was introduced for the same reason.)

Derail:

evariste: Even after he's had four years in office, he probably won't really have had much effect on the great Leviathan that is the federal bureaucracy. There's just a great deal of inertia in our politics. Elected representatives come and go, and the bureaucratic machinery just sort of sits there, outlasts them, and defies them.

Have you been asleep for the last six years? Political appointees at the top of an agency control the promotion and employment of the professionals in the agency. They can easily launch a political purge. Killing the CIA. McCarthy had a similar effect on the State Department.

Bush has appointed industry lobbyists to head regulatory agencies; they're now supposed to be enforcing the laws that they fought against as lobbyists. As the Economist puts it, it's like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
Some of the results have been predictably awful. Despite soaring petrol prices, the Bush administration fought efforts to raise fuel-efficiency standards and close legal loopholes that allow sports-utility vehicles to guzzle more petrol than other cars. On climate change, Mr Bush noisily pulled America out of the flawed Kyoto protocols, but offered only a sham domestic replacement based on voluntary targets and emissions “intensities”: goals that are either meaningless or toothless.

Bush appointees have also undermined greenery in subtler ways that help the resource industries. For example, they have left lands open for development that by law ought to have been set aside—by, for example, registering far fewer species as “endangered” than Mr Clinton did. The EPA has quietly halted or reversed lawsuits against power companies, and starved other enforcement efforts of money. Scientific evidence that is inconvenient for industry (on, say, the risks of climate change or mercury) has been censored out of government reports.
Plus, of course, there's plain incompetence.

posted by russilwvong at 11:18 AM on June 8, 2006


It can be either, but will be perceived by the winner of the election in question as tacit approval of his/her mandate.

I'm Canadian (now living in the US), and have been known to spoil my ballot in protest of the bad choices on it, though in close races I tend to vote for "least evil." Spoiling a ballot is an understood form of political protest there, and if a riding has an unusual number of spoiled ballots that is understood to be a result of voter choice and not stupidity. I have been told by Americans that spoiling your ballot is not understood that way here, and that to protest a lack of choice one should write in a candidate, e.g. Jello Biafro, or vote for a third party.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:53 AM on June 8, 2006


I have been told by Americans that spoiling your ballot is not understood that way here

Plus, with the spread of machine- or computer-based voting, spoiling one's ballot becomes technically impossible (or is it?).

/Canuck and occasional ballot-spoiler
posted by hangashore at 12:32 PM on June 8, 2006


Regardless of the varied reasons/justifications, not voting's net effect is to further the status quo.

Are the uncast votes presumed to be inconsistent with the status quo?
posted by evil holiday magic at 1:03 PM on June 8, 2006


What is the effect of writing in a candidate out of protest? Does a poll worker see the ballot, and like totally freak? does it show up on some big results table you can request and masturbate to?
posted by evil holiday magic at 1:12 PM on June 8, 2006


Maybe we're miscommunicating.

Yeah, I get that feeling too :)

My point was that by setting up an extreme situation, we might learn something about our psychology.

Yes, maybe, though I am convinced we learn much more about our psychology through our feelings and actions in real situations we're in. But, apart from that, the question about voter turnout is not about psychology to me, it's about politics.

Meaning, the personal feelings, emotions, reasonings, and motivations of people who don't go voting are interesting, and I can understand many of those as expressed here or in those other threads you linked to, but that doesn't really matter in the end.

What matters is the consequences are the same, regardless of all those individual motivations.

So it's political because politics is about the consequences of collective actions, rather than the isolated individual motivations.

In other words, I don't care why you didn't vote, I mean, I do care and find it interesting if we're chatting about it, but forgive me if I care much more about the consequences of millions of people who, like you, no matter how their reasons were similar or different to yourse, also didn't vote...

If I had to be totally interested, totally convinced, totally informed in order to go voting, I'd never vote either! But I have to choose what's on the menu. If I want to try and change what's on the menu, abstaining from voting is not the way to do it.
posted by funambulist at 1:49 PM on June 8, 2006


And, to get back to your hypothetical, grumblebee - it's a very different hypothetical from "who would you take on a desert island with you"... it's not just unrealistic, it's impossible and very biased and tricky - you're basically describing a dictatorship in democratic terms (how the can the vote be pre-established if no one has voted yet? barring fraud?) - and you've already set up all these impossible theoretical premises to make the vote literally ineffectual.

In reality, meanwhile, you've had an election when a bunch of hundreds of votes decided the outcome! Come on!

Is there even an argument here that voting does have an effect?
posted by funambulist at 1:50 PM on June 8, 2006


funambulist, I don't blame you for not caring about the psychology, symbolism, etc.

But the question was...

"Is abstaining from voting in an American election..."

...which could mean various things. But one meaning is "What does it mean to abstain?" or "WHY do people abstain?" (which is a psychological question) or "how do non-abstainers VIEW people who abstain?" (psychology again).

You take it to mean, "What results when people abstain?" Fair enough -- just realize it's not the only reasonable way to interpret the question.
posted by grumblebee at 2:40 PM on June 8, 2006


Well, of course you could read it as exclusively psychological question if you like, and look for exclusively psychological answers - you can do that with anything. Doesn't mean I have to find it a reasonable approach in this case. I don't mean to prevent a strictly psychological reading of the question, I just disagree with it and I do have a political problem with it.

If I haven't bothered anyone already, I'll expand more pedantically - apologies for repetition, but I promise I won't rant. Nothing personal against all you damn non-voting Americans who couldn't be arsed to make up your mind if a second Bush term was a good or bad thing. I hate you, but nothing personal.

For one thing, 'why do people abstain' and 'how do voters view people who don't vote' are not inherently, or, if you don't like that word, mainly, about individual psychology. It's not because I say so, it's that voting is not the same thing as your relationship with your wife or your eating habits. It's a basic mathematically measurable act by which you give your choice of who should represent you in the political institutions of your country, or you local town council, or your region or state.

Can we all agree that's a statement of fact, right? an objective description of the mechanics of the voting process?

That your choice of voting or not voting, as well as your choice of who to vote for, is affected by all kinds of personal emotions and feelings and symbolic meanings as well as rational thought processes - as is the case with everything in life! we only have one brain and rational reasoning is not so neatly separated from personal feelings, life experiences, cultural influences, and so on - doesn't negate that fact that your vote does get counted and if enough people vote like you, your choice decides who's the winner.

Studies have been done to answer those very questions of why people don't vote, examining all sorts of political, cultural, economic, geographical, historical, national factors, as well as psychological ones, yes, but it's the psychology of a collective behaviour that has a directly measurable political impact, and that's how it's being studied. (It's not *the* most significant political impact an individual can have on society in general - one could abstain and still do other things that have an impact, small or big, good or bad, on his society and country - it's just the simplest most direct way of deciding who's in power. Mininum effort, but most directly countable.)

Reducing it all to an exclusively individual level of psychological attitudes is a very narrow reading, and it is a cop out, and I do think that's exactly one of the reasons people don't go voting - because they don't 'feel like it' for whatever personal reason and can't see past that individual level. They are aware of the collective effect of millions of people abstaining like them, they just don't actually take it into account when deciding to not vote. I don't find this a reasonable choice.

Put it this way - another unrealistic hypothetical: barring an almost impossible gridlock situation where literally one single vote would make all the difference (and a situation where there were no laws allowing recounts or a second ballot, and no judicial intervention - and many countries do have laws to avoid such an unlikely but still theoretically possible situation), and positing everyone eligible voted except you, then your vote literally wouldn't make a difference - it'd be physically counted, but it would not affect results either way. That is the only situation in which your abstaining would have no impact on elections. It's not the actual situation of US elections, or elections in any country.

Hence, that distinction between personal motivations and collective impact.

Two ways of reading the question, but in the end, the vote or non-vote is what gets counted, not the motivations behind it. You can well intend your non-vote to be a vote of non-confidence, that's the meaning you assign to it; but your meaning doesn't affect the outcome of elections, your abstaining does. You can attribute your personal meaning to your it, and others can read all sorts of other meanings into it, but the one undebatable fact is you didn't bother to vote. It's still a political choice and as such subject to political criticism based on its consequences.

In the example of the last US presidental elections, a higher turnout may have given the same result, or Kerry may have won. We'll never know. But don't you agree it is better for a system based on representation if more than 22% of eligible voters get to decide for the whole country? Is that not self-evident? If you disagree, why?
posted by funambulist at 6:11 AM on June 9, 2006


That should have been, if I haven't bored anyone already... although bothered is probably just as well.
posted by funambulist at 6:12 AM on June 9, 2006


Funambulist, I think you're following your own agenda here -- not the agenda of the question (maybe I am doing that too, and, if so, you should feel free to call me on it if you think so).

You keep talking about IMPACT. As if the question was "How does abstaining impact politics?" or "What's the result of too many people abstaining?" It's an interesting question, and I agree with most of your answers to it, but they're not questions to what was asked:

"Is abstaining from voting in an American election...

1) A vote of no confidence in any of the presented choices?

or

2) An affirmation of the status quo? "


The simplest interpretation of that questions, "Why do some people choose not to vote?" (Are they not voting because they don't like the candidates or are they not voting because they want to keep things as they are?)

That IS a psychological question, pure and simple. It's a question of motive. I'm not answering it via psychology because I have a fetish for psychology. I'm answering a psychological question with a psychological answer.

Your answers are like saying, "whatever the reasons may be (and I don't really care what they are), these abstainer are bad people." That's a fair view, but it isn't an answer to the question.
posted by grumblebee at 6:37 AM on June 9, 2006


grumblebee, I don't have an 'agenda', I have an opinion on the question. I did give a direct answer to it in my first comment, the rest was discussion spurred by other comments, but I'm just saying the very same thing as all other people who replied "it's the latter" (affirmation of status quo), "every vote counts", "Tacit approval. Sadly, we aren't given the option of a no confidence vote", etc.. I was just expanding on that in response to your comment.

Your answers are like saying, "whatever the reasons may be (and I don't really care what they are), these abstainer are bad people."

Wow. If that's all you took from what I wrote, I'm sorry but I don't think the miscommunication problem is on my part here.
posted by funambulist at 7:09 AM on June 9, 2006


Bleh, sorry if that sounded a bit snappy, grumblebee - I mean, this is a very open-ended chatty question, everyone is answering by giving their opinions on the choice of not voting in elections, everyone has their 'agenda' in that sense.

You may read mine as moralistic posturing and passing around "bad people" labels, but it's just my view on a political act, not an overall judgement on people who do it. I don't think voting alone makes one a better person!

(maybe I am doing that too, and, if so, you should feel free to call me on it if you think so)

Well, yes, obviously, you've made your opinion clear, and of course that's fine, we're discussing. I'm only criticising the fact you insist on seeing this only as a matter of individual psychology - I apologise if I went on too long about it, really, but I'm by far not the only one here to remark the difference between impact and motivations (it's not that 'I don't care about them' in the absolute, it's that I don't think they can be reduced to purely psychological motives, also because, otherwise there wouldn't be different turnouts in different countries, among different social classes, etc.).
posted by funambulist at 7:27 AM on June 9, 2006


You make tons of good/valid/complex points, funambulist, and I'm sorry if I glossed over them. I was just trying to point out my interpretation of the original question and my concerns that we'd drifted off topic. Anyway, no offense taken and -- I hope -- given!
posted by grumblebee at 10:59 AM on June 9, 2006


+1 to SeizeTheDay.
posted by WCityMike at 11:31 AM on June 9, 2006


Not at all, grumblebee, I was just getting a little frustrated and I thought you were handing me a dreaded yellow card for Not Answering The Question! :)

I didn't actually mean to come off as too dismissive of your insistence on psychology either, you know - the personal motives need to be understood too. Those other threads you linked were very interesting in that respect.

(I have had this argument so many times with friends, family, so when I do say it's nothing personal I do really mean it.)
posted by funambulist at 11:32 AM on June 9, 2006


I just wanted to say that I've found the discussion interesting, both from grumblebee and funambulist. TetrisKid's original question was quite vague, so I think it's valid to explore both the motivations and consequences of low voter turnout.

Regarding individual motivation:

funambulist: Is there even an argument here that voting does have an effect?

Sure there's an argument. From an individual's point of view, their single vote has no effect.

That's why you have to convince individuals that it's their duty to vote. Or make voting compulsory, as Australia did.

It's a tragedy-of-the-commons problem. The individual gets all the benefit of not voting (not having to pay attention to politics, not having to take time to go to the polls). The cost (of bad decisions) is shared by everyone.

In Canada, the Canadian Election Study Group analyzed voter turnout among youth in the 2004 federal election.

Why don't young people vote? It's not political cynicism:
Surprisingly, respondents in their 20s turned out to be the most satisfied with the way democracy works in Canada: Sixty-three per cent said they were at least fairly satisfied, compared with only 49 per cent of those in their 60s and up.
It's not that their priorities are different:
As it was in every age group, health was the No. 1 issue for young Canadians: Fifty per cent named health as the most-important on a list of five issues, and another 25 per cent named it as the next-most-important issue -- similar to figures among older groups....

The list of issues also included taxes, social welfare programs, the environment, and corruption in government. The environment is often cited as just the sort of issue that matters most to young people, and yet only 7 per cent chose the environment as their No. 1 issue, and only 17 per cent ranked it as their next priority. The comparable figures for those in their 60s and beyond were 3 per cent and 11 per cent. Thus, the younger generation's priorities seem to be much the same as those of older generations.
So what's the answer? It's that they don't pay much attention to politics. And why are they not paying attention? They don't feel a strong obligation to vote, so presumably they don't feel an obligation to find out who they should vote for.
Seventy-five per cent of our respondents strongly agreed that "It is every citizen's duty to vote in federal elections," and 32 per cent said that they'd feel very guilty if they didn't vote in a federal election....

However, young Canadians are much less likely to share these sentiments: Only 55 per cent strongly agreed with the statement about duty, and only 18 per cent said that not voting would make them feel very guilty.

If a diminished sense of duty is part of the explanation for declining turnout among young Canadians, reversing that trend is clearly going to be a long-term challenge.
posted by russilwvong at 12:05 PM on June 9, 2006


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