I got this postcard in the mail today from my local Democrat party in what I guess is an experiment to see if people can be shamed into voting. The postcard explains that I should vote because whether or not I vote is part of the public record that other people can see, and that it would be awfully embarrassing if other people saw I didn’t vote.
The postcard then goes on to list the names of some people I don’t know that live in my neighborhood and tells me if they voted or not. The implication I suppose is that some of my neighbors got a similar postcard, and if I didn’t vote the last several years, I should be embarrassed because my neighbors can see it.
I don’t think this is going to work on me. If I cared about being embarrassed in front of my neighbors I can assure you I would have a lot less weeds in my front lawn. What do you think though? Does knowing that other people know whether or not you voted influence if you are going to vote or not? Would you be embarrassed if people knew you didn’t vote?
What about the cost of voting?
Nobody comes to artofbeingcheap.com for political news ( I sure hope not anyway), so what about the financial side of voting. There are costs involved with voting. At the very least I will have to spend quite bit of time to go down to the polls, wait in line, and push all the buttons. For some people, this means taking time off of work which means less money. If I have to drive to the polls there are additional expenses associated with the cost of operating my car. So is the cost of voting worth the benefit?
According to freakonomics, the answer is no. There is almost no chance that your vote will count, with only one congressional election in history being decided by a single vote back in 1910. That’s kind of a downer isn’t it, certainly not what we were told in government class back in high school.
You should go vote on Tuesday if you would be embarrassed if other people found out you didn’t vote. If you wouldn’t find that embarrassing… meh.