It is a long standing belief that a single American vote will not shift difference in any election, Jason Bell’s: “No, Seriously, Your Vote Doesn’t Matter”, argues that one person’s vote will never result in a wave of voting, essentially saying one vote equates to nothing unless said voter convinces millions of citizens to do the same. In this article, he (the author, Jason Bell) attempts to convince the reader that no matter the outcome or efforts, voting does not equate to anything. Attempt to convince an audience that voting is useless in our legal system is problematic. There is more than voting for the Presidential election, there is smaller votes like senator voting or congressmen voting that can physically and immediately affect people locally. A disregard for the voting process proves controversial and takes little to no notice of situations of less fortunate citizens. For example, voting locally can instantly change your life and influence larger scale politics.
The core problem with this viewpoint is that it solely bases itself on an assumption-or hasty generalization- that all persuasive attempts to turn someone into a voting citizen, would happen in person. Mr. Bell states: “you [the reader] just don’t have that many friends. I’m not being sarcastic, I’m just saying most people aren’t in a position to influence many people.” emphasizing in his argument that changing someone’s mind or inspiring a samaritan to vote is only achieved by ways of an immediate acquaintance. The author fails to recognize that social media plays a crucial part in inspiring voter turnout. As early as the 2012 elections, “30% of registered voters have been encouraged to vote for Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney by family and friends via posts on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.” It is vital to consider that social media has changed and evolved since 2012, leading to a deeper reliance on it. Accounts run by and for just the youth have harbored millions of followers that interact with each other.
These accounts aim to disperse the importance of the youth vote and movement within politics. Social Media not only is a platform to share ideologies for the youth most interested in government, the “I voted” sticker alone proves a major a mark of inspiration within younger generations and older to vote. One “study, by researchers from the University of California and Facebook, showed that in the 2010 congressional election, the “social transmission,“ or”contagion “ aspect of Facebook’s “I voted” button helped increase voter turnout (Kozlowska). Not only are our everyday American citizens affected by other everyday people, but celebrities also play a role in fostering advertisements for voting turnouts, In fact “Pop star Taylor Swift, whose call to vote in the 2018 midterms coincided with a spike in voter registrations this [last] election season (we don’t have a way of knowing how big her actual impact was)-Thousands of users have- credited Swift with inspiring them to cast their ballots.”(Kozlowska)
Additionally, there is no longer a need to converse with one person at a time, social media is efficient in quickly exchanging information and principals. Willian Comcowich for Gleam.info argued in 2018 that “About three-in-ten men ages 18 to 29 (29%) say their views on a political or social issue changed in the past year due to social media. – twice the share of all Americans and more than twice as much as those over 30.” What is not to say that the beliefs in voting are not altered as well?
Understandably, the issue of the Electoral College remains to concern voting american. The argument is that the popular vote does not mean a candidate’s victory, it is the Electoral College that decides the countries president in the end. But reality says that, “if you live in the State of California and the majority of the people in your state choose to vote for (2019) Senator Bernie Sanders, then he will win your state’s 55 electoral votes. That’s over 20 percent of the electoral votes he needs to win the presidency. It’s as simple as that. And it all started with your vote.” (Alnatour) . The failure of addressing state senate as a part of how one’s vote affects the outcome of the presidential election blinds the reader to how much more a citizen can use the voting privileges for more than voting during a midterm or new election. Currently “when voters cast ballots for the president and vice president, they are not voting directly for the candidates. Their votes instead determine which slate of electors, chosen before the election by each state’s political party leaders and any independent candidates on the ballot, will ultimately pick the president and vice president.” (Price), there is an obvious and undeniable importance when voting on other elections.
In the article, Bell asserts that not only will your vote prove a miniscule number in the grand scheme of ballots, but one cannot convince millions of voters. There is an air of apathy in Bell’s article. Saying there is nothing one could do to change the power of your ballot adds to the impossibility by enabling the inspiration to vote. In the 2016 election , “100 million people who have the legal right to vote simply decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.” (Ingraham). One Hundred Million people say there is not a reason to vote. One person who said their vote counts for nothing, amounted to One Hundred million votes that went unused that could have had a larger role in that election.
Bell fails to provide statistics rendering his argument flat. There is no use besides the occasional mention of how the electoral college dismisses votes. In his article, he voices that voting does only one thing; create satisfaction. This introduced argument is weak and adds unnecessary exposure to his argument . Bell discusses that voting “comes from a feeling of satisfying civic duty–Another reason is [that] the process of engaging in politics makes you feel valuable to those around you.”(Bell) While yes, it is proven voting makes you feel valuable and needed in your environment, Bell does not add anything to refute the benefits and encourages the behavior of voting-even though it contradicts his attempt to convince readers not to bother to cast a ballot at all-more so than his position against voting.
Along with the contrasting ideas of the author, he further contrastes the entirety of his paper by stating “I will reveal that I actually vote, even though I don’t believe my vote will matter.”. Mr. Bell’s vote is worthless in the greater scheme of things in his accord, he ends his essay inconclusive of stand. The article I am refuting, has many errors, but fills itself with opinions not backed up by studies or polls. It is still debatable, open-ended, unresolved and ambiguous.
There are points that the author does well. Earlier in the article, his points against the presidential election are strong and almost concrete, but the paper is not held up by this.
The truth of the matter is that yes, “Things would definitely be better if there were laws that made election day a holiday, that allowed you to vote online, allowed you to vote without a picture ID, but you know how you get those laws? By voting.” (Bill Maher-Why Voting Does Matter HBO)