Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Even *your* vote matters

In another blog, I saw someone bring up the painfully foolish idea that, since no election is won or lost by a single vote, your vote doesn't matter.

Below is my response:

As a mathematician, I am sick and tired of this bullshit meme being propogated. It is completely false.

Yes, *tomorrow*, your vote won’t have mattered. *TODAY*, it will.

Today we don’t know what the totals are. We don’t know how many people will have wanted to vote, made it to the polls, voted, and had their vote counted. It’s an ongoing random process depending on many, many factors. Your vote is your way of decreasing this randomness by as much as you can.

Today, your vote matters. Today, it’s a way of grabbing one tiny bit of that chaos, imposing your will, and building something you want. Maybe it won’t be very big, and maybe it won’t be very strong; maybe it’ll get swept away in a tidal wave of other votes, but the point is, right now, we don’t know.

Yes, you’re right. Once the polls close, your vote doesn’t matter any more. The moment is past, your power is gone. But right now, you have some power, and it’s your choice if you want to piss it away because tomorrow, you won’t be able to claim to be a big hero, having cast that one decisive vote that caused the candidate to win or lose, or the measure to pass or fail.

And I'll add: don't throw your power away. It might not be much, but it's what you have.

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