Friday, October 10, 2014

A Minor Musing About Protest Votes

PNR recently put up a thoughtful post about voting for a candidate as opposed to voting against a candidate. If I am reading him correctly, the following sentences express his thesis.
Regardless, when you go into the voting booth, you don't get to vote against a candidate.  You can vote against ballot initiatives, amendments, etc., but not a candidate.  You have to either vote for or abstain.
PNR is writing about the Howie/Pressler/Rounds/Wieland Senate race. In that particular race, if reliable polls continue to show Rounds at 35% or lower, he is correct. Placing a check in the oval next to Weiland's or Pressler's name may indeed be a vote for them because they have a chance to be elected.

The rest of South Dakota's statewide races, however, are not competitive. In those races, marking the oval for someone other than Daugaard, Noem, Jackley. Krebs et al. can indeed be a protest vote. I fully intend to darken the oval by Emmett Reistroffer's name for no other reason than South Dakota third parties need support. Krebs is going to win that race easily, and all votes for someone other than Krebs are protest votes of one sort or another. Nearly every South Dakotan voting for someone other than a Republican is fully cognizant of that fact.

The ovals I will darken for someone other than Daugaard or Noem are just that, a vote indicating I don't believe those people will adequately provide South Dakota the service it needs. The vast majority of South Dakotans have made it clear that an "R" next to a name is all that is necessary to earn a vote.

If one is in a purple state or a competitive district in South Dakota, dissatisfied voters need to vote for the lesser of the the two evils. If one's electoral geography ensures that the winner is determined long before election day, one can vote against the evil of two lessers without indicating and indicate only opposition not support.

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