Why I voted yet again

I voted again, as I’ve been doing regularly for some years now.

2014 PA primary election voter receipt

But why?

Last year, I vented a bit about voting but did so anyway.

This year, I paid almost no attention to any media coverage before the election. This included deleting answer machine messages, and summarily recycling all campaign flyers sent to my home, with an attempt not to even see who sent them. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but these flyers have gotten louder and more annoying and inane. I made the mistake of actually seeing one of these flyers (and therefore know who it was from). In all caps and colored, bold text (if I recall correctly), it said something like

Mike knows us. And we know Mike.

That pretty much sums up what political campaigns are. And we know that psychologically, this stuff works. Just slamming someone’s name into our brains, creating “familiarity”, influences votes.

Yeah, I voted for Mike anyway. After all, “I know him”.


However, I knew very little about the main race, the primary election for Pennsylvania governor.

The night before, I did a little bit of research, largely on whom to vote against. One candidate apparently stood out for pretty harsh negative ads.

On the whole, such negative ads turn me off. Now, I understand that psychologically, some people are motivated by negative ads to go vote against the target. But it’s actually difficult to anticipate exactly what the tradeoff is, in terms of attracting support vs. fueling the opposition. Obviously, I would never make a decision based purely on campaign tactics, but in this case, I figured I would go with someone not particularly different on issues who did not engage in this kind of behavior.

But why vote at all?

I wish I could tell you that I feel I’m making a difference by voting. I’m not sure that’s true.

I wish I could tell you that I feel it is my “civic duty” to vote, because I have the privilege of having the right to do so as a citizen of the United States. I’m not sure I feel that is my duty.

The truth is, I vote every election day now simply because I’ve developed a habit of it, and a system (avoiding media coverage that would piss me off, and doing a bit of homework the night before election day). So, it’s just what I do now. I no longer question whether I will get out there and press the big red button. I just do it.

Do you vote? In every election or just high-profile primary or general elections, such as presidential? Why do you vote or not vote?

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