Posts Tagged ‘voting’

Against Voting…Again

You seriously want to vote for one of these guys?

It’s time for my biennial plea for you to abstain from voting. I’ve got my work cut out for me: As election season (mercifully) draws to an end, we’ve reached the time of year when everyone and their mother takes time to urge you to vote, no matter who you vote for, as if the mere act of casting a vote is somehow worthwhile.

What goes conspicuously unmentioned in all these pleas to vote is the simple fact that your vote is extremely unlikely to make a difference. This is nothing but a statement of mathematical fact: The odds of an election in which millions of votes are cast being decided by one vote* are essentially zero. Even in smaller, more local races, or elections that are extremely close, the odds of your vote being decisive are still incredibly small. The only elections that have been decided by one vote were races in which fewer than 10,000 votes were cast. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals, Week 5 Power Rankings

“The Challenge gods are angry at me for something.” —Kenny

 

“Playing the ‘my-partner’s-what’s-holding-me-back’ card is getting tiring.” —Katelynn

 

 

Despite the great structure of Rivals, there have been a few things about it that have been hard to watch, and last night’s episode was a great example of them.

First, this season has featured almost a complete absence of strategizing. Part of this is due to the separation of male and female eliminations (since only half of the contestants are invested in any given vote, the other half is much more likely to jump on any bandwagon so as to avoid making enemies) and part of it is due to sheer stupidity (Here is a brief guide to strategy: 1) Count up the number of votes 2) Divide that number by two 3) Try to get one more than that number of people to vote with you… It’s really that easy, yet it eludes most of these players).

Most of it, though, is due to the voting rules. For one, even though it seems like the fairest way to do it, the last place team should not automatically get sent into the Jungle. Doing so immediately drains half the suspense out of any vote, and preemptively eliminates a lot of potential strategies and alliances. Continue reading

Against Voting

Yesterday was Election Day, meaning a lot of people spent a lot of time talking about how important voting is. Voting is the cornerstone of democracy—it’s a cliché, but it’s true. And, as most of the Western world lives in a democracy, we hear a lot about the importance of voting. When President Obama went on The Daily Show last week, he made sure to remind viewers to vote in yesterday’s elections, and you can assuredly find countless celebrity videos and PSAs telling people to vote every November, or risk their corporeal demise.

It’s true that voting plays a significant role in our society, but that doesn’t make it good. There are plenty of things that are important but terrible: the Iraq War, cancer, the Tea Party, religion, the imperial conquests of the British Empire, terrorism, Dr. Luke’s contributions to pop music, infanticide, etc. Like all of these things, voting’s negative consequences so overwhelmingly exceed its positives that voting in democratic elections ought to be considered an immoral act. Continue reading