If you don't know all the issues should you still vote?

I guess this comes down to moral decision making -if you don’t know all you think you should know, should you still vote with incomplete knowledge? I don’t think you should but if somehow you absolutely have to vote then I think it is okay to go for the most probably correct decision.

Is that true?

There are many different ways to begin to form your political consciousness.

For example, right now you are posting on a Catholic forum.

So, one way to begin to form your political consciousness, is to find out who the pro-life candidates are and plan to vote for them. Read up on them.

And if you suspect you are getting “mumbo-jumbo” from a candidate… [for example, “I am personally opposed to abortion but the law allows it so I will support it”] then take a more critical view. Versus: “I believe abortion is murder and that we should do everything in our power to overturn Roe v. Wade”.

Another thing would be to find out when your local Tea Party meets, and attend a meeting. Just sit in the back and listen. Get on their email list for other groups and other meetings.

All the states now have local economic growth groups that are separate from the Tea Party groups and have extensive on-line discussions and occasional meetings.

Based on what you learn there, you can cast your knowledge net a little wider.

There is plenty of time before the 2012 elections to get up to speed.

However, in my opinion, you can’t go wrong by voting for the candidate who is pro-life.

Yep, because that is the basis for everything else! :thumbsup:

I have friends who have used the following false logical train of thought:

Candidate Smith is pro-“choice”, and is a very likable smooth politician. Very well spoken. He does have flaws but follows his party’s platform perfectly. Unemployment does tend to be higher, taxes seem to be higher, there are crises, but the explanations are believable.

Candidate Jones is pro-life, but Candidate Jones is not perfect. He can be cantankerous. His economic policy is up one day and down the next, seemingly. Favors subsidies one day and opposes them the next day. Candidate B’s sound bites on television are almost always negative. There is always some kind of international or domestic crisis, seemingly. Unemployment does tend to be lower, and taxes do seem to be lower. But the media seems to report the data differently.

My friend grades Candidate Smith with an “A” because Candidate Smith seems to be closer to the pro-“choice” ideal. Smith is closer to the imperfect ideal. And so gets an “A” grade for his closeness as he strives to be imperfect in so many ways.

My friend gives Candidate Jones a “D” because Candidate Jones does not meet the ideal perfect profile. Jones has imperfections. My friend EXPECTS Jones to be perfect. Because he is not perfect, my friend gives Jones the grade of “D”.

So, my friend votes for Candidate Smith because he has the higher letter grade.

Candidate Smith wins the election.

And then my friend complains constantly about the newly elected Smith … even though he voted for him!

When pressed, my friend says, “yeah but, Smith had the higher letter grade even though his performance is by far worse than Jones”.

To answer the OP’s question directly: maybe.

The problem is, it’s impossible to be 100% informed. In fact, the more informed you are, the more you realize how uninformed you are. There is a LOT of stuff that goes on in governance, and it involves ethics, social sciences, philosophy, lots and lots of statutes… it’s just an enormous body of related knowledge which the “ideal voter” should learn and internalize. We’re never going to have that. Even the politicians aren’t as informed as they should be, ideally.

At the same time, if people showed up to the polls not knowing anything about the candidates, and just voted for the guy with the better name, it would be the end of democracy. Those people have a moral obligation to get informed, but, failing that, they have a moral obligation to stay home.

So there is a middle-point somewhere – a minimum threshold at which you are morally qualified to vote. And, because that threshold depends on a lot of factors (complexity of the issues at stake, number of issues, importance of the issues, competitiveness of the election, etc.) we can’t actually give an absolute point at which the average voter can consider himself qualified to vote. About all we can say is that he should be reasonably well-informed.

I interpret that to mean that the voter should have a general idea of the candidates’ positions on issues and – no less important – a general idea of the candidates’ temperament and moral compass. (Newt Gingrich is a great example of a guy who’s right-on on most of the issues, but whose temperament and morality I do not trust at all to be appropriately presidential.) The minimally-qualified voter should be able to understand and articulate reasonable arguments on both sides of a central issue, and have given it enough thought (in some cases, prayer, too) to come to a conclusion about the issue that he can be reasonably confident in. (The last thing we need is more hardline partisans voting!)

For low-level candidates with little publicity or impact (e.g. county sheriff, local judge, police chief, etc.), it can be acceptable to trust the endorsement of a local political party, if you trust that political party. However, it is also acceptable to simply not vote in those races. (I tend toward the latter; I prefer those small-scale elections to be settled by people who know what’s at stake.)

Of course, this is all general ethics of voting. In practice, the United States political scene is very simple. There is an extremely important which eclipses all others – a dominant issue – and it is simple to understand both sides, simple to draw a (correct) conclusion, and it’s a competitive issue in virtually every election. That issue is abortion. It is so important and so simple that it leaves the threshold of minimum qualification very, very low compared to historic norms. Ideally we would not live in a society where as sacred and intellectually interesting a matter as voting can be boiled down to a single moral rule, but, unfortunately, we do, and that rule is:

Hold your nose and vote for the pro-lifer.

Catholics are required to VOTE.

CCC - “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…”

We each have the responsibility to educate ourselves to the best of our ability.
Incumbents have a voting record you can find on the internet.

Catholics can not receive Holy Communion if they vote in favor of abortion,
or for a pro-abortion candidate unless there are proprotionate reasons - ie killing 1.4 Million innocent babies each year in the US versus ??? .

priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm

Candidates who wish to use taxpayer dollars to kill innocent babies have no ethical or moral ground upon which to stand.

Hold your nose and vote for the pro-lifer.

That boils it down to the essential issue … life … and abortion.

Some of my friends who cannot make a decision, go back and forth … “yeah, but” … “yeah, but” … “yeah, but” .

NO BUTS!

HOLD YOUR NOSE AND VOTE FOR THE PRO-LIFER!

Elegant in its simplicity.

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