Is it sinful NOT to vote???

I’m sure I put this question in the wrong place, but I just need to know…

Is it a sin not to vote??? I’m just so torn!!! I’m not interested in Mitt Romney, but I DO NOT believe in abortion, and I don’t support it either. If I were to vote for President Obama, I just feel like God will be angry with me. At the same time though, I WANT to vote!!! But I just feel like no matter what I do (vote or not vote) I will always feel like I did something wrong.

And mind you, I used to be kind of scrupulous, so something like that can eat at my spirit…sigh:frowning:

There are other candidates than Romney and Obama. Do some research and find a pro-life one that you like better than Romney.

It is a neglect of duty to fail to do the work of voting, but it is not a sin to conclude that your conscience doesn’t allow you to vote for either major candidate. To vote for everything else on the ballot, but to cast your vote somewhere other than towards the two major candidates: this is also an expression of your opinion about the people running for office. You could even choose to vote for no one for President.

Still, do look at the minor party candidates on your local ballot, and consider a write-in.

America is a two party system. A non-vote or a vote for a third party is a vote for the incumbent!

It may not be actively sinful to vote for no one but it is your Duty by Constitution to vote.

Not voting or voting libertarian or green is a vote for Obama!

There seems to be a lot of confusion and disagreement over this issue, I have seen this come up again and again. I have thought of a way to approach this that might help people understand better the moral issues involved.

There are really two kinds of votes, what I call an “effective” vote and a “protest” vote. Actually the term “protest vote” has been used before, I didn’t make that up. That is what you do when you vote for a candidate who has no chance to win, because you feel that the viable candidates are all equally bad. In presidential elections, voting for the Constitution Party candidate or the Libertarian candidate is a protest vote. You know this person is not going to be sitting in the Oval Office next year, by any chance; but you hope that if enough people vote with you for that candidate, it will be reflected in the outcomes, and commentators will say “Gee a lot of people voted for the XXX candidate this time” and that the people in positions of power will recognize that there is support for the platform of the XXX party, and that they need to respond to the views of that part of the electorate. It is all about the secondary results.

An effective vote, on the other hand, is one that can actually help to shape the final outcome of the election. If you live in a swing state such as Ohio or Virginia, your vote will actually help determine who is sworn in as president next year.

So the first thing to ask yourself is, granted that either Obama or Romney is going to win, which one is preferable? If you are a Catholic who takes your faith seriously, that should be an easy question to answer. We can debate all day about how sincere Romney was about adopting the pro-life position, but even if it was adopted for political expediency, his presidency would certainly not be devoted to aggressively promoting abortion the way president Obama has done.

If you genuinely believe that neither candidate is significantly better than the other, then you can legitimately decide to cast a protest vote. In the present situation, a protest vote is immoral in my opinion, because it increases the chances that Obama will win, thus gaining immense power to continue his attack on the churches, on freedom of conscience, and indeed on many of the institutions of civil society that stand in the way of the implementation of his agenda.

Some people seem to think that it would be immoral to vote for a candidate unless that person is 100% morally and ideologically pure. If you take that attitude, then you are effectively giving up on your civic duties, because you won’t be voting very often. People are imperfect and politicians are imperfect. We need to try to bring about the best possible outcome in any given situation. The best outcome is not necessarily a perfect outcome, in fact most of the time it won’t be. That doesn’t absolve us of our obligation to participate in the process.

[quote=EasterJoy] It is a neglect of duty to fail to do the work of voting, but it is not a sin to conclude that your conscience doesn’t allow you to vote for either major candidate. To vote for everything else on the ballot, but to cast your vote somewhere other than towards the two major candidates: this is also an expression of your opinion about the people running for office. You could even choose to vote for no one for President.

Still, do look at the minor party candidates on your local ballot, and consider a write-in.

This. Local elections are so important, and your vote matters quite a lot more in these races (at least as far as outcome goes.) Don’t stay home even if you decide you can’t select a candidate for President.

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Louisak, I am not voting for a third party because I think enough people may vote likewise and it may be mentioned in the news or something. On the contrary, I am fully aware that the third party voters will probably get little votes and probably won’t be mentioned on the news or even recognized. I vote for a third party because I cannot bring myself to vote for either of the two main parties due to my conscience. I will vote my conscience, not for whoever is popular. Plus anyways, I am in a state that is very heavily democrat, so voting for a republican in that state is pretty useless and is just as much a waste of my vote as voting third party, so I may as well vote for someone I actually believe in. There are many reasons someone may vote third party.

Would you mind explaining that a bit further? What specifically is your conscience commanding you to do, or not to do? What moral or religious principle are you trying to follow? Also, what do you hope to achieve by voting for a candidate who has no chance to win? Or do you believe that the act of casting a vote is a moral good in itself, and that it doesn’t matter whether it will achieve anything in the political order?

I stated my belief that in order to vote for a candidate, it is not necessary for that candidate to be morally 100% pure, only that he/she be substantially better than the opponent. Do you agree or disagree with this?

Not trying to pick a fight, it’s just that I honestly cannot understand the viewpoint of people who say they won’t vote for Romney because he’s not really pro-life, or whatever. To me it seems obvious is that the imperative is to get rid of Obama no matter what it takes, because he is so truly horrible. But I realize that others genuinely disagree, so I want to try to understand that point of view better.

in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Whatever you decide to do, be prepared to give an accounting for it some day.

Boycotting an election is also a political action, and sometimes even stronger than voting for the smaller evil. If you vote for Romney you are responsible for his sinful action.

Well, some people will probably flame me for this, but the two main parties now-a-days are pretty much bought and controlled by the major corporations who support them. Plus I am not a just one issue voter and there are other issues I don’t agree with Romney on. I don’t like to get too specific with these things on a public forum because people get too riled when it comes to politics. I will vote for the man who I will believe will be the best for our country. I am not going to just vote for the most pro-life of the two most popular candidates, I will vote for who I believe in. Plus I really don’t like the whole two party system that we have. I think most of the time one of the third party candidates is the best option, but people won’t vote for other parties because they don’t believe the best candidate can win or even that there are other candidates! We as a nation need to start voting for the best candidates if we want true improvement and progress and I am going to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

It is not sinful not to vote.

We have a right to vote but having a right does not make it a duty.

Those who argue that we must vote then must also think that we must follow all the rights we have so by that thinking we must all own firearms.

Choosing not to vote is exercising your rights.

I agree with this, but I have found that usually there is a third party candidate is a lot better then the main two. But boycotting an election can also be a good and moral move.

I used to think this, but I have become convinced that it is an open invitation for cynical treatment by candidates who feel confident that “I only have to sound better than he does” to this block of voters or that. I’m tired of having promises not delivered because making the promise is enough to appease voters, if only your opponent is promising to do the opposite. The result of that kind of voting is that candidates now make promises so as to appease those who vote, but act so as to appease those who pay for their campaigns! :mad:

IOW, it is not your duty as a citizen to vote for someone who is in statistical danger of winning. It is your duty as a citizen to participate in elections. Voting for a candidate who has no chance to win, or even refusing to cast a vote in this particular race or that, is not a failure in civic participation. It is a voice that says, “there is some support here that neither major party could garner…if you want to gather those who are happy with neither choice, here is a place to start.”

I’m never going to quit voting, not just because the local issues and local candidates matter so much, but also because I want the major parties to know where the votes were there, if they’d taken the trouble to win them instead of not losing them. They pay people to do that kind of math; they won’t fail to notice that there were votes there for the taking, and they missed them.

Now, mind you, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t vote for a candidate that I’m not wild about, particularly one that I think will be unsatisfactory in ways that aren’t morally objectionable, when the alternative to vote for someone proposing plans that are objectively immoral. I would vote for an inarticulate or ineffective candidate over a bad one, rather than to just vote for neither. I’m saying that there is no moral duty to vote for the lesser of two evils. If any candidate gives you reason to deny your vote for moral reasons, the fact that he is not as morally repugnant as the other candidate does not mean you have to vote for him.

**You just need to follow the Church’s teaching. The bishops are teaching. Bishops are urging us to vote. They clearly said we cannot vote for candidate supports abortion, gay marriage, therefore, in other words, ** we should vote for Romney. This is not about if you are interested in Romney or not, it is about obeying the Church’s teaching.

  1. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki from Springfield, Illinois: said :Voting for Obama jeopardizes the eternal salvation of your own soul:

  2. Bishop Ricken calls on area Catholics to fight HHS ruling on religious liberty

  3. Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo:“A Catholic whose conscience has been properly formed by scripture and church teaching cannot justify a vote for a candidate or referendum question that opposes the teachings of the church,” he said. “[V]ote your faith on Nov.

  4. Archbishop Chaput: Catholic teaching trumps party loyalty on abortion:

  5. Maine bishop: Catholics cannot justify voting for a candidate who opposes Church teaching:

  6. Cardinal Dolan on the US Election:

  7. Bishop Nicholas ANthony Dimarzio rues failure to teach the faith, says Catholic vote for Obama ‘stretches the imagination’

  8. Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte:

InLight247-We can vote for other candidates too by Church teaching then. Romney is not the only pro-life candidate against gay marriage.



Excellent well thought out replies.

I had a similiar situation as you OP

I am an Union carpenter and Obama is definitely pro Union and Romney is Not but you must pick the lesser of 2 evils

I voted for Romney because my faith guides my life and I will not help a president get reelected that is forcing Catholic Churches to do things they believe are intrinsically evil.

If I was you I would pray that Jesus guides you to make the right decision!

With pure motivations, it is not a sin to refrain from voting, to vote third party, or to vote for the lesser of the two evils that will certainly win.

It is a matter of prudential judgement. I personally strongly feel that such judgment favors voting Romney, despite the fact that he is not pro-life enough, and am willing to argue this point. But whether I am right or wrong, you are bound by your conscience and hence the results of your reasoning, not mine.

I may try to convince you of my point of view and hence change what you in your conscience and judgement think to be the best approach, but unless you vote in a way that you are convinced is actively bad, there is no sin.

You should vote for the issue(s) you care about. Don’t forget there are local representatives up for vote and there maybe ballot measures in your state that are on the ballot. You can just leave your vote for President blank and your other votes will still count. HTH. :thumbsup:

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