How to vote if you don’t know about politics

Lots of people “don’t know about politics”. Do you not have the time to learn about all the parties and policies? Do you find learning about all the ever-shifting arguments difficult? Do you just not care about politics? If any of these sound like you I have 5 quick and easy steps for you.

  1. When is the election?
  2. Register
  3. Change or continuity?
  4. Who to vote for
  5. Cast the ballot

You don’t need work out if inflation is a danger to the economy. You don’t need to work out what wars your nation should fight. You don’t need to deal with issues of migration and identity in a globalised world. Your voice can be heard all the same.

1: When is the election?

Google “next elections in <name of country, state, region, province etc where you live>”.  You’re looking for two things: The date of the election and what kind it is. Once you’ve done that find out when the last election was of this kind, and what the result was.

2: Register

Most countries need you to register in advance in order to vote. Luckily most of them have a website. Google “register to vote in <name of country, state, region, province etc where you live>”, go to the official website and follow the steps. You should only have to do this once which is good.

3: Change or continuity?

There’s one big question to ask: Are you better off now than you were last election?

Remember what kind of election it is: it might be just regional or local, it might be for the whole country. It might be an election for the city dog-catcher. Whatever the topic is, think: are things better now than they were last election. Am I better off, have the things that were wrong then been fixed, or have new things gone wrong?

4: Work out who to vote for

If things are better now then you want to vote for the incumbent. Find the name of the person or party who won last time and cast your vote for that person or party next time.

If things are worse now then you want to vote for the opposition. Find the name of the person or party who came closest to winning last time but who lost and vote for that person or party last time.

5: Cast the ballot

By election day you should be told where to vote. When you’re there ask one of the people on duty to explain how to vote if you’re not sure. (If you’re in the US this will be needlessly complicated and may change from election to election, so make sure you ask). Don’t tell them *who* you voted for.

Done! Well done for improving the government of your country. If others vote like you then bad governments will be voted out, and good ones will stay in.


3 thoughts on “How to vote if you don’t know about politics

  1. I like your approach to simplification of the problem, however your specific advice contains some flaws and omissions in logic, beginning at #3.

    People regularly decide their votes based on many factors aside from “Are you better off”. “Better off” is far too ambiguous and undefined. Does it only mean “more money”? To some, better off would be having health care insurance when you couldn’t get it before – even if it means you have less money in pocket. Some voters only care about single issues, like a candidate’s stands on gun control or abortion. Some voters care more about character than policy positions. “Better off how?”, would need to be the follow-up question in every case.

    As to the assumption presented in #4, there’s no guarantee an opposition candidate automatically represents more change than one of the same party. Change can come from the influence of the individual. The re-election of an incumbent might represent more change than election of an opponent. OR you can get continuity, from voting either for the same or an opposition candidate. It all depends on the important issues of the day, which don’t remain constant, and how well an individual candidate can transmit a message about those issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I utterly agree. This is a wildly oversimplified version of voting. I don’t recommend anyone vote like this if they have more sophisticated ideas about how to vote.

      This post isn’t the best way to vote. It’s a way of voting that requires the smallest possible amount of political engagement and understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Democracy | Geek Ethics

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