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Pointless voting

The interesting question on turnout is not why so few of us vote, but why so many

By Jim Holt   November 2004

secretlondon123 via flickr

Image: secretlondon123 via flickr

Why does voting in a US presidential election feel at the same time both terribly important and utterly pointless? On the one hand, casting a ballot on election day strikes us as a kind of civic obligation; neglecting to do so is not so serious as neglecting to file a tax return, but it is still something you feel guilty about. On the other hand, nearly half of those Americans who are eligible to vote don’t bother. And, in a sense, they are right.

Some non-voters, no doubt, couldn’t care which candidate wins (the ancient Greeks…

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