Do we have to vote?


#1

The presidential elections are coming again, and as usual I feel completely disenfranchised. I don’t feel I can in good conscience support anyone, certainly not anyone with a chance of winning. As long as I can remember I have been on the horns of this dilemma, and my first presidential election was in 1980!

I’ve always believed that, in a democracy, “rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s” meant (at a minimum) voting, but given the way things are now, is it wrong to abstain from voting for either candidate? :shrug:


#2

I think, being given the power and responsibility of voting, it is incumbent on us to use it as well as possible.

While such a thing as the perfect political candidate may never exist this side of heaven, we can at least play a part in ensuring the worse candidates do not get into office.

And when you think about it, isn’t that exactly what the Holy Spirit has to do every time a new Pope is chosen? Surely none of the candidates are ever really worthy of their sacred office, after all. And He knows ALL their flaws in a way we cannot possibly do for any political candidate!


#3

On election day, I pray. I do not vote.


#4

The Catechism says

1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. the manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. “One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom.”

2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country:

Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners… They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws… So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.

The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.”

tee


#5

If it’s wrong then we’re in this “wrong” boat together. I refuse to vote since I cannot back either candidate. I am 50 and this will be the very first time I abstain from voting. Given the **** we have to pick from, I will not vote at all.

Lorrie


#6

In a word…No you do not have to go to the polls and cast a vote…So long as you recognize that not voting is, in itself, a kind of vote…That is, by not voting you are saying that you will be satisfied with whomever is elected.

Now - that said…I would like to address where you say above “either candidate”…indicating that you see only Two choices…This is almost never the case, and certainly not in the presidential election.
If you are dissatisfied with the main party candidates - consider looking into the, so called, third parties and their candidates and voting for one of them. While it is true that they will not be elected, the pollsters and major parties do keep an eye on such votes.
It is my feeling that a vote for a third party candidate can actually more influential than a vote for one of the primary parties - who frankly I can hardly tell apart any more.

Of course as Lily indicates above, often times it can be a matter of voting for the “lesser of evils” even if one chooses to vote third party.

Or you can just say home and “vote” - “Whatever you guys decide is fine with me.”

Peace
James


#7

Catholics have a duty to vote

Catechism:

2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.

**2240** Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country [Rom 13:7]:

Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. [Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners… They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws… So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it. Ad Diognetum 5: 5, 10]

The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way." [1 Tim 2:2]

#8

As independents, we voted third party in the last election due to our extreme dismay at the Republican choice and our absolute commitment to vote for the candidate who really is pro-life in principle. We do have an obligation to vote and regarding the argument that says to vote third party is a wasted vote, I will say that everyone needs to make a moral choice and I can only be responsible for my own decision using my intellect and right judgment; I cannot control how others will vote.

I understand the disheartened ones who have decided to abstain. It is a temptation to do so in light of the fact that there appears to be no real distinction anymore as the right moves further and further left. I personally believe that it is doubtful if there really is a free and open election in this country anymore, being convinced as I am that there is an element that has carefully chosen two candidates who will march to the beat of the same drum. I also take into consideration how corrupt government is and the many exposes that have been done regarding voter fraud. If anyone is interested in a truly pro-life, 3rd party conservative candidate who will not be elected, please PM me and I will give you a link.


#9

I’d like to thank those who have posted the quotes from the Catechism.

When considering this matter though, it should be noted that “exercising the right to vote” may not, in itself, require that one actually enter the polls and cast a ballot. There can certainly be times when, after careful consideration and prayer, a person decides that they will simply live with whatever others decide.
An example of this might be where there are tax issues on a ballot. One examines both sides of the issue and sees little to choose between the two positions. So one simply says - I will not vote on this matter and will accept whatever the outcome is.
Such consideration and decision cannot really be considered “not voting”. True the person has chosen to not vote “Yea or Nay” but they have chosen to vote “No opinion”.

The key in any of this is the need to be actively interested. To try, so far as you are able, to understand the issues and to make a decision on how to vote (yea, nay or abstain) based on your research.
What we must NOT do is to simply ignore matters. To vote in ignorance or to simply not choose to participate at all.

The voting booth is important. But from the moral standpoint, the voting booth is only one part of the matter. And whether you actually enter a voting booth or not is no proof that you have fulfilled the moral requirement to “to exercise the right to vote”.

Peace
James


#10

I don't know that one can necessarily exercise their right to vote by not voting. After all, you wouldn't ever say that I'm exercising my body by sitting or lying around and not actually doing anything with it!

And I certainly wouldn't call it exercise to get someone else to move my limbs for me. At best that might be physical therapy of some kind. However, to me (and most dictionary definitions) exercise requires some kind of effort, be it physical or mental. Which effort I would say is absent when one resigns the choice to others.

Interesting story - my area had local elections some weeks back. Voting is compulsory, so there was no option to not show up at the polls. A day or two beforehand, I realized that I hadn't received any campaign literature or seen or heard any media blurb from any of the candidates.

No problem, thought I. In state and federal elections, candidates will usually put plenty of information about themselves and their policies on the Internet. So I hopped on the Internet the night before the election. For whatever reason, this was simply not the case this time. In fact I could not even find out minimal information about them, such as whether they lived anywhere near me or several hours away in another part of our very large local government area. Just nothing.

Some had phone numbers or email addresses listed, but you can imagine how difficult it would be to get in touch by those means on the day of an election. So I did what we call a donkey (informal) vote - where you show up, thereby avoiding a fine for not voting, but do not mark your ballot paper at all. I really could not do anything else.


#11

I’m with you guys. As far as I’m concerned, the choice is between Satan and the devil. Look at our presidential candidates. Romney is as bad as Obama. Up until as recently as 2007 he was supporting abortion, promising always to uphold Roe v. Wade. It’s his healthcare program that was used by Obama to craft national healthcare, which is completely opposed to the Catholic church and all that we stand for. Romney will continue along the exact same path as Obama.

Maybe the rest of you in America actually have a choice, but I live in New York where I think it’s against the law for any politician to be pro life and pro God.

I absolutely will not vote in this or any election ever again. I am getting down on my knees before God. That is the only place where true hope and change can be found.


#12

[quote="LilyM, post:10, topic:285896"]
I don't know that one can necessarily exercise their right to vote by not voting. After all, you wouldn't ever say that I'm exercising my body by sitting or lying around and not actually doing anything with it!

And I certainly wouldn't call it exercise to get someone else to move my limbs for me. At best that might be physical therapy of some kind. However, to me (and most dictionary definitions) exercise requires some kind of effort, be it physical or mental. Which effort I would say is absent when one resigns the choice to others.

[/quote]

Lets take another example...A teacher assigns her class a vocabulary exercise on Monday and tells them that they will have an oral test on Friday. The students study - each to their ability and desire - and on Friday they are tested.
Would you say that they only "exercised" on Friday? Or did they exercise all week in preparation?

One does not exercise their "right to vote" by showing up at the polls. Your story below demonstrates that. You showed up - but did not vote. Yours was a one time oversight - I wonder how many of your neighbors do this regularly.

The exercise occurs in the study and decision making process that one does preparatory to voting. And if, in that process (exercise) one determines that, for them, no vote is the best vote...then they have indeed {u]exercised their right to vote.

Interesting story - my area had local elections some weeks back. Voting is compulsory, so there was no option to not show up at the polls. A day or two beforehand, I realized that I hadn't received any campaign literature or seen or heard any media blurb from any of the candidates.

No problem, thought I. In state and federal elections, candidates will usually put plenty of information about themselves and their policies on the Internet. So I hopped on the Internet the night before the election. For whatever reason, this was simply not the case this time. In fact I could not even find out minimal information about them, such as whether they lived anywhere near me or several hours away in another part of our very large local government area. Just nothing.

Some had phone numbers or email addresses listed, but you can imagine how difficult it would be to get in touch by those means on the day of an election. So I did what we call a donkey (informal) vote - where you show up, thereby avoiding a fine for not voting, but do not mark your ballot paper at all. I really could not do anything else.

So - Since you "sat on the couch" (did no exercise) during the time you should have been "exercising" (studying), you were unable to exercise when the time came to perform.

I am not advocating people not voting, but I tell you this... I would rather that people not vote who do not know what they are voting for...

Peace
James


#13

During the last election, The last election, I went through a lot of thinking. I finally determined that if one believes in conscience that they cannot vote for either one of the major party candidates, the pragmatism that rears its ugly head and suggests voting for the lesser of two evils should be avoided.

(This is not to say that it would be sinful to vote for either, even for pragmatic reasons bit that some people’s conscience might differ)

I realized that one’s vote is not only a contribution to a corporate action but even more it is an individual act between oneself and God. We have to do what God calls us to do more than what any person tells us to do.

Hence, I think voting without worrying about the greater of two evils’ winning and all that is fine. The most important thing is doing what God wants you to do.

However, if one decides not to vote, one is precluding having a say. If there is a way to vote a write-in name, I would suggest doing that. If not, I would suggest going to the poll and entering a blank ballot.

I believe that the parties ignore non-voters and assume they are not interested. The parties do not get the idea that they need to respond to non-voters. So I suggest if you want to send a message that you are not voting *because… *then vote write-in or blank. Then yiu will not be an ignorable non-voter but a person who needs to be won over. If a lot of disillusioned people did this, it would have more of an effectthan just staying home.

Of course, our most powerful weapon is prayer, so that should definitely be part of theday, and every day.


#14

Who will vote pro-life, if not for us Catholics?

:(


#15

[quote="St_Francis, post:13, topic:285896"]
During the last election, The last election, I went through a lot of thinking. I finally determined that if one believes in conscience that they cannot vote for either one of the major party candidates, the pragmatism that rears its ugly head and suggests voting for the lesser of two evils should be avoided.

(This is not to say that it would be sinful to vote for either, even for pragmatic reasons bit that some people's conscience might differ)

I realized that one's vote is not only a contribution to a corporate action but even more it is an individual act between oneself and God. We have to do what God calls us to do more than what any person tells us to do.

Hence, I think voting without worrying about the greater of two evils' winning and all that is fine. The most important thing is doing what God wants you to do.

However, if one decides not to vote, one is precluding having a say. If there is a way to vote a write-in name, I would suggest doing that. If not, I would suggest going to the poll and entering a blank ballot.

I believe that the parties ignore non-voters and assume they are not interested. The parties do not get the idea that they need to respond to non-voters. So I suggest if you want to send a message that you are not voting *because... *

then vote write-in or blank. Then you will not be an ignorable non-voter but a person who needs to be won over. If a lot of disillusioned people did this, it would have more of an effect than just staying home.

Of course, our most powerful weapon is prayer, so that should definitely be part of theday, and every day.

[/quote]

Re:the Bolded...
I very much agree with this. However - I would suggest that, instead of turning in a blank ballot which IMO would have about the same effect as staying home, vote for a viable third party.

The reason I say this is because - it is my belief that - the political parties DO pay attention to how many votes third parties garner. The do this for the simple reason that most elections are won by only a few percentage points and the "Third party voters" could swing an election - if they could be "won over".

If sufficient numbers of people voted for a third party candidate, the main parties would be looking at the third party platform to see what the attraction is and then they would try to tailor their own platform(s) to appeal to these voters.

Granted - Third parties in the US generally don't garner anywhere near that high of a percentage...but I think that is mainly because people have bought into some old and widespread lies like - "There are only two parties" or "A third party vote is a wasted vote" or "They are all crooks so why vote at all"....

Anyway - thought I'd toss that out there for the consideration of all...

Peace
James


#16

** I am not voting as well. I am in my late 50’s and this will be a first time for me as well.**


#17

Yes, I agree Julianne!! I cannot believe that Catholics on here are not going to vote for the pro-life candidate. :eek:


#18

I put my post badly–I should have written those who cannot in good conscience vote for any of the candidates offered.

A problem with your suggestion would be that if someone made a protest vote, then the major parties would think they need to appeal to another candidate’s supporter rather than someone who was just fed up.


#19

2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:

Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. 

[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it. 

The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way."

scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2240.htm

And one can add that with so many important things in the USA election (abortion...religious liberty...) ...it is very important.

See the Catholic Answers Voter guide...


#20

Well, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that we should vote. I don't think we should worry too much about what the candidates say they are for or against.

If a politician says he is pro-choice or anti-choice, it doesn't make a lot of difference to me because he is probably saying what he thinks is the opinion that will get him the most votes. Next year, he may have a different opinion.

I think we need to look at how well a politician can do his or her job and look at their past experience.

Then we need to vote for what we think is the lesser of two evils. Abstaining from voting will get us nowhere fast.


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