I hear so many reasons for not voting and in my opinion they are only different flavors of bullshit. Here are just a few.
1. Both parties suck.
Maybe--but what a great opportunity to show support for younger, hipper parties and give them a shot. If everyone who doesn't vote now voted for a third party--any third party, you all might give the reigning two something to worry about.
2. There are no good candidates.
OK, but did you know that there is a write in option? Who do you think ought to be president, governor, senator or representative? Plus there are propositions to consider.
3. The language of the propositions is too confusing and so I can't understand how to vote on them.
I sympathize with you there. They have to be written in legal language, unfortunately, or risk being challenged and misinterpreted in court.
One way to approach this is to look at who is funding the ads for and against. Texas oil companies on an energy bill? You should probably vote against whatever position they take. :)
But you can vote for people and skip propositions or vote no on all of them. I've read that this is the safest position if you don't know or aren't sure about them. You do not have to vote for every single thing on the ballot for your vote to count.
4. Not voting is my protest against the system.
OK, I get it, but the system? Doesn't care. They only care about the votes cast. If you want to send the system, meaning those in power right now, a message, vote them out. They shudder at every vote that tells them people are unhappy with their performance--just like you would if all of your customers and co-workers got to vote against you.
5. I don't have time to go to the polls and wait in line. I have to work.
They have these cool things called absentee ballots. In our state you can sign up to permanently have them sent to you for each election! Vote in the comfort of your home.
6. I've never voted and I don't know how. It's embarrassing to ask for help.
There are videos online and I found quite a few just by typing "how to fill out a ballot" in Google. Plus with an absentee ballot there is a page of instructions to help you. Ballots are different everywhere or I'd write out a guide right here.
7. I believe in the law of karma and I'm afraid that if I vote for something or someone I'll be partly responsible for suffering caused by that vote.
Alternately, if you could have prevented someone really awful from taking office and didn't, wouldn't there be karma for that?
Again, it's safe to vote against propositions and you can write in the name of saints, gurus, celebrities or dead people if you are afraid to vote for actual candidates. But get in the habit of voting and you might find one day that there is someone worth voting for, someone who is so clearly better than their opponent that you feel good about voting for them.
8. I don't want to do the research needed. I'm just lazy--is that a crime?
It isn't a crime but don't expect others to respect you the morning after an election.
Look, as citizens we get so much from our government and our part is to be informed voters. It doesn't take many hours of research to have a good idea of how you want to vote. Even if you show up every time and write in "Martin Luther King" for every open position, you are voting. Show up and do your part; that's all I ask.