Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No Point Voting

One thing I've been thinking about lately is the apparent failure of rational choice to explain voting (I wrote a series of posts on this before). To put it simply, the chance of your vote making a difference, in a reasonably large constituency, is near zero - though there have in fact been cases of ties (and another) - so it doesn't seem worth the cost (time, effort) to vote.

I've just seen there's going to be an uncontested election in Oxfordshire this week (BBC news). Interestingly:
The council said it would never discourage people from voting, despite their [sic] being just one candidate.

Which surely just means that they won't discourage people wasting their time... This could be a really interesting case for rat choice discussion, since the expected benefit is presumably zero - although, of course, one wonders whether those who believe in something like a civic duty to vote still think it applies even when they know the vote makes no difference. (Although I'd contend that, in practice, they can know this in most safe seats, not only uncontested ones).

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