Don’t Vote

Slave Suggestion Box (anti-voting)A relative in Singapore called and said “Happy Election Day.” Somewhat in jest. I have relatives and friends begging me to vote this time–Republican of course–“to kick those Marxists out of office.” Yes, to replace them with the Republicans, who a few years ago started two wars, added Medicare Prescription socialism, and began the Bankster Bailouts. Yeah.

Last year I took my 6-year old with me to the polls and let him watch me cast a blank ballot. But a friend on Facebook recently admonished me:

Any participation in the voting process, even casting a blank ballot in protest, is acknowledging, perpetuating, and giving legitimacy to the state and its system.

Withdraw from the state. Don’t vote at all. Embrace agorism. Spread freedom like a virus.

And of course the anti-voting position is common among many anarchist libertarians.1 I’m still not completely convinced that it’s immoral or unlibertarian to vote–especially just casting a blank ballot–but I’m leaning in that direction; and I certainly think there is no duty to vote. One libertarian I know thinks that while it’s problematic to vote for a candidate for a given office, it’s less problematic to vote on a ballot measure or law itself (like legalizing drugs or lowering taxes). Not sure, but I don’t think I’m going to vote today.

  1. See Wendy McElroy’s various articles and resources, such as Why I Would Not Vote Against Hitler, The Good Intentions Paving Company, Act Responsibly: Don’t Vote!, Anti-voting Resources; also John Roscoe and Ned Roscoe, Don’t Vote: 20 Practical Reasons; Carl Watner, Non-Voting; George H. Smith, The Ethics of Voting; John Pugsley, Harry, Don’t Run!. But see  R.W. Bradford, Voting Is No Sin

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Why is it unlibertarian to vote?

    Sure, I’ve observed that democracy often appears to be a way for the majority to vote themselves the property of the minority, but that doesn’t make the process unlibertarian.

    After all, can’t citizens convince fellow citizens that voting themselves other people’s money is basically stealing, and attempt to dissuade them? Or perhaps can’t a democracy be libertarian if there are rules that limit the ability of the majority to take other people’s rights or property?

    If this has already been a well-established point, please feel free to simply forward me some links.

  • My take: voting is purely symbolic, so it cannot be any more un-libertarian than shouting “I love the state” (i.e. it is not equivalent to stealing). As a symbolic act, what matters is how it is interpreted. I’m not sure how it is interpreted.

    FYI: Pennsylvania (or Allegheny County) now uses those little terminals with privacy panels.