To vote or not to vote?
November 7, 2006 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Do I keep my plans with a friend this evening or go home to vote?

I've never voted before and I'm 23. I've lived in Chicago for about a year and a half and one of the first things I did when I moved was register to vote. I've been paying lots of attention to the races in my district and I feel informed about who to vote for. This is the first time I've been excited about voting.

My plan was to get up early this morning and vote before making my commute from the city to my job in the suburbs. This didn't happen, so I quickly checked online when the polling places close - 7:00 p.m. I just decided that I would leave work with enough time to commute home and vote before they close.

About 45 minutes into my commute, I remembered that I had made plans with a woman I work with for dinner and a "Stamping Up" party tonight. The party is also in the suburbs, but further away from my polling place than my workplace is. There's no way I could go home to vote and then come back to the suburbs in time for the party.

So do I just go home after work and cast my vote, cancelling my plans for dinner and the party? Or do I hold my previous engagement and skip voting in this election? Half of me says my one vote may not make a difference, but the other half says that if everyone thought that way it would make a huge difference. I feel very conflicted!

(Maybe I should also add that I just told my friend that I might go home and vote. Her response was, "Who the hell cares?") :(
posted by youngergirl44 to Society & Culture (44 answers total)
Best answer: I'll tell you my answer after you tell me which party are you voting for.

Just kidding. I say vote. You can always reschedule the dinner, and there'll always be more parties, but this is your last chance to vote in the 2006 elections. And we 20-somethings need to be represented! And after the election when people complain about how this demographic group didn't vote, you won't have to feel guilty.
posted by Amizu at 7:14 AM on November 7, 2006

So do I just go home after work and cast my vote, cancelling my plans for dinner and the party? Or do I hold my previous engagement and skip voting in this election?

You go vote. Friends will still be there tomorrow. The chance to vote in this election won't be.
posted by pdb at 7:14 AM on November 7, 2006

What do you think she meant..."Who cares if you vote?" or "Who cares if you don't stick to our plans?"
posted by phatkitten at 7:14 AM on November 7, 2006

Vote. And be glad you're not hanging out with coworkers who think voting is something not worth caring about.
posted by bcwinters at 7:18 AM on November 7, 2006

Response by poster: phatkitten: I think she meant, "Who cares if you vote?"
posted by youngergirl44 at 7:20 AM on November 7, 2006

Definitely vote. You've already stated that you care about the election results and you feel well-informed. Think of all the people in the world who can't vote. There's not a lot of point of living in a so-called democracy if you don't exercise your right to vote. Do it!
posted by different at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2006

I also think you should vote, but if the plans are that important to you, can you ask your boss for an impromptu half-personal day? You could vote, relax a bit, then head back out for the party?
posted by lampoil at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2006

Absolutely vote. It's very much something to care about.
posted by gaspode at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2006

Best answer: Were you seriously expecting anyone here to tell you to not vote? Next time, get an absentee ballot so you don't have such problems.
posted by scottreynen at 7:26 AM on November 7, 2006 care if you vote, right? Are you going to let her attitude keep you from doing something that's this important to you? The fact that you're even considering ditching the party says a lot about how you feel about this election. Which, like Amizu and pdb said, will not happen again after today.

I think about_time's suggestion is sounds like voting will be a valuable contribution to both society and your own life.
posted by phatkitten at 7:27 AM on November 7, 2006

What bcwinters said. Those are not co-workers I'd wanna hang out with.
posted by notsnot at 7:28 AM on November 7, 2006

Were you seriously expecting anyone here to tell you to not vote?

I will.

Go to the party, as it has a much better chance of positively affecting your life.

The probability of your vote making or breaking a tie, the only possible circumstances when it will ``count' or matter, is very close to zero, especially in Chicago.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:29 AM on November 7, 2006

Vote! And, when you call your friend, make sure she has voted, too! You'll both feel better about yourselves, and think of all the time, calories, and money you'll have saved. Voting: the new Weight Watchers. Hmm...

What's a "Stamping Up" party?

But yes, absolutely, make your apologies, stick to your guns, and go vote. Good for you for asking and caring enough to make voting and participation in society important.
posted by davidinmanhattan at 7:29 AM on November 7, 2006

Upon reviewing the "stampin' up" website, I agree with myself, above; furthermore, at least tupperware parties were for a *useful* product.
posted by notsnot at 7:30 AM on November 7, 2006

Clear out early from work, vote and come back. When given the choice between working, voting or having fun, eliminate the work.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:33 AM on November 7, 2006

It's too late, of course, but I'd recommend you vote first thing in the morning, before going to work. When I vote I do it in the morning and I have a nice feeling all day that I've been a good citizen.
posted by booth at 7:33 AM on November 7, 2006

Its not a party anyway. She's trying to sell you something. There's a difference.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:35 AM on November 7, 2006

Best answer: I encourage you to vote. If your 'friend' doesn't vote, the next time she complains about anything in the wide world an appropriate response would be, "Who the hell cares?"
posted by taosbat at 7:36 AM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Go and vote, do not become yet another of the apathetic horde, do it for the principle of the thing!
posted by estronaut at 7:37 AM on November 7, 2006

oh, wow. i hadn't realized what stamping up was.

someone wants to take advantage of your friendship to sell you some junk? and is giving you a hard time when you suggest that you're considering doing something important instead?

:( indeed
posted by sergeant sandwich at 7:39 AM on November 7, 2006

Best answer: Please vote...even if you dont like the people running...write yourself in. But vote.
posted by photodegas at 7:40 AM on November 7, 2006

A lot of it depends on what district and ward you're in. Like, were it not for the ballot proposals here in Michigan today (well, and the Governor's race), if I had something else come up, I'd not feel all that terrible about not voting. I live in a district, and in a ward, that always goes about 85% Dem. And I'd probably feel more upset about not voting because it would break my streak of voting in every election I've been eligible for.
But there are, and it would be wise to admit, places where your vote really doesn't matter.
Spend a little bit looking at the poling data. If anything's under, say, 15% either way that you can vote for or against, go ahead and vote. If there's really nothing, go to your party.
If you really want to do both, I'd second the advice to ask your boss for a little time off so you can vote.
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 AM on November 7, 2006

posted by devbrain at 7:41 AM on November 7, 2006

Response by poster: In defense of Stamping Up, I scrapbook and make cards and such, so I don't think it's 'junk' (ask my boyfriend and he may have a different opinion). And she's not trying to sell me things, I already want them.

Thanks for the fast responses! I will most certainly be voting tonight. :)
posted by youngergirl44 at 7:47 AM on November 7, 2006

Make the decision based on the Sominex principle. Do what you think you can sleep with having made the decision.

To not vote because you made a conscious decision to not vote is a vote. It is a vote against all candidates. Voting is a right, not an obligation. If there is/are no candidates worthy of your vote, do not vote. Voting for the lesser of evils still means you voted for an evil. If you think there is a candidate who has integrity and will uphold views that are inline with your own, voting is the way to go.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:00 AM on November 7, 2006

Actually no. If you do not vote, you are making a decision to support the majority, whatever it is.

Any "non-vote" is a vote for the majority. In this case, as the Republicans control all three branches of government, non-voting is voting Republican.

You go girlfriend!
posted by ewkpates at 8:07 AM on November 7, 2006

This is a slight derail, but I'm a bit surprised to discover this is an issue. In Canada, your employer would have to let you leave at 3PM to vote (must have 4 consecutive hours available in which to vote), giving you likely lots of time for both voting and partying. Does the US not require employers to let people vote?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:08 AM on November 7, 2006

Why didn't you vote absentee or use early voting? I voted last week. What a pleasure. I have been able to totally avoid all those ridiculous ads the candidates throw at us.
posted by JayRwv at 8:12 AM on November 7, 2006

Vote tonight. Get new friends tomorrow.
posted by dobbs at 8:13 AM on November 7, 2006

Casting a blank vote would indicate that no candidate is worthy of your vote. Not voting is not voting.
posted by AwkwardPause at 8:20 AM on November 7, 2006

Best answer: Since jacquilynne asked, I looked it up and it says here (among other places) that Illinois employers are required to allow up to two hours (unpaid) off for employees to vote.
posted by veronica sawyer at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2006

Best answer: I didn't vote the year I was 23. I've regretted it ever since. Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote.
posted by escabeche at 8:34 AM on November 7, 2006

The stamps look lovely, but you can always get them another day.
Also, that lady you work with sounds not so nice if she's all Who-the-hell-cares when you mention something you care about.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:39 AM on November 7, 2006

If it'll make a difference (i.e., if there's any doubt at all as to the results of the election where you live), vote and order from the catalogue.
If it won't make a difference, just do what you prefer.
Your friend may feel a little disappointed that you're cancelling on her, but it's not very nice of her to say "who the hell cares" about something that you clearly do care about.
posted by textilephile at 8:44 AM on November 7, 2006

I'll add, though, that when I was in high school a millage increase was voted down that would have allowed our school district to do something spectacular (like build another high school or something, I don't remember) by literally one vote.
posted by textilephile at 8:46 AM on November 7, 2006

I think in the US its 2 hours off.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:50 AM on November 7, 2006

If you don't vote you have not right to complain. Well, unless you are anti-republican democracy, and are complaining about voting.

But otherwise, yeah. Vote.
posted by muddgirl at 9:13 AM on November 7, 2006

Response by poster: veronica sawyer's link is great. Everyone should check it out for their state's information. Unfortunately for me, the request for two hours off to vote must be submitted before election day. Still, it's helpful to know.
posted by youngergirl44 at 9:15 AM on November 7, 2006

Vote, and order the stuff you want from your friend's catalog within the next couple of days. If it's like many of these party/sell you stuff businesses, she'll still get the credit for your purchases as part of the party. I have a friend who's done both Pampered Chef and Tastefully Simple, and that's how it worked for her, IIRC.
posted by booksherpa at 9:24 AM on November 7, 2006

Rather more emotion than logic in many of these answers. No, one vote is unlikely to make any practical difference, and not even SpicyNuts can take away your entitlement to comment on political affairs just because you don't cast one. File today under "Experience" and give serious thought to how you can multiply your political clout by actively supporting the cause/party/politician of your choice instead of simply waiting until next polling day to cast another unlikely-to-matter single vote.
posted by Idcoytco at 10:23 AM on November 7, 2006

Rather more emotion than logic in many of these answers. No, one vote is unlikely to make any practical difference

Perhaps not in national elections. But city elections and even state rep elections are often very close, and significantly impact one's day-to-day life. I don't think it's an overly emotional response to care about electing someone who works to get my streets cleaned, keep our fire stations open, argue for the benefit of public transportation, etc.
posted by desuetude at 10:36 AM on November 7, 2006

You should vote, not because the likelihood is that it'll matter but because you can never know if it would have mattered until afterwards.

Case in point: In 2000 I lived in Florida. (You already know where this is going....) I don't like the two party system. I despise Joe Lieberman. I was in high school when Tipper Gore was abusing our democracy and dislike her even more. At the time, George Bush seemed just as ineffectual and harmless as his dad. So I went out and voted with a mind towards reaching the 5% necessary to get federal funds for a competing party, even if I thought they were fools.

That makes me 1/537th, or 0.186% responsible for who occupied the White House between 2001 and 2005. (Subsequent years you can't pin on me.) Or maybe it makes someone who would have voted for Gore but went to a party instead 1/538th responsible.

Why risk having something to second-guess yourself over for the sake of shopping?
posted by phearlez at 11:12 AM on November 7, 2006

Mod note: a few comments removed, do NOT turn this into a "if you don't vote you don't have a right to complain" derail, that can go to metatalk
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:24 PM on November 7, 2006

Please vote...even if you dont like the people running...write yourself in. But vote.
posted by photodegas

What a ridiculous answer. So he should miss an evening with friends and then throw away his vote. He has two good choices, and you're telling him to screw them both.

I can't tell you what to pick, but the fact that you need to ask a bunch of strangers this most simple of decisions leads me to believe the world would be better with you drinking rather than voting.
posted by justgary at 11:50 PM on November 7, 2006

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