Why Vote when it wont affect the outcome?


Just voted today in Taiwan’s presidential election, why did i vote when i know perfectly well voting wont effect the outcome of the election?

According to a research cited by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, “Of the more than 16,000 Congressional elections, in which many more people vote, only one election in the past 100 years – a 1910 race in Buffalo – was decided by a single vote.” and as they correctly argue the closer the election is the more likely the winner will be decided by a lawsuit. therefore they add people who spent the effort to cast their vote are properly “not very bright and therefore wrongly believe that [they] will affect the outcome.”

Although i mostly agree with their argument, i do want to add a few point.

In a presidential election, while the candidate with the most votes wins the election, the margin of his/her victory will have an effect on how powerful his/her administration may be. The larger the margin is in each individual electoral districts will have an influence on how much the congressperson from those districts will cooperate (or antagonize) with the president on issues the president campaigned on.

For example, a congressperson is unlikely to vote against a pro-choice bill if the his/her district voted heavily in favor of a president who ran on a pro-choice campaign platform, because the presidents victory signals a pro-choice majority in the district.

Furthermore, the act of voting in a group, as i did today with my family is not a bad way to encourage and make sure those people in the group actually go out and vote. Its an excise of peer pressure and cheater detection.

Are these sufficient reason for an rationally thinking economist to vote? I don’t know, properly not, lol.

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