Robinson: Not everyone should vote
Residents cast ballots at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with a constituent,” said Winston Churchill.

    While no one should prohibit voting by legislation or fiat, it should be incumbent upon voters to determine whether they are informed enough to exercise their franchise or whether their vote will hurt our government or democracy.

    Here is a list of people who should not vote or should skip some ballot items.

    The Uninformed

    Uninformed people are not stupid. They simply don’t have enough information to make an informed decision. This is especially true about down ballot races. Currently, some unstable people have been elected because the public doesn’t know who they are or their background.

    Admittedly, we have too many down ballot races and issues where people are not informed. But if you don’t know enough about the candidates or issues to decide, don’t vote.

    The Undecided

    Way too much attention is given to the undecided voter. If you truly can’t decide on an issue or candidate, don’t guess and don’t vote. Democracy shouldn’t be about flipping a coin. Unlike the uninformed, the undecided may be informed but can’t make up their mind.

    Do your neighbors a favor, don’t vote.

    Cult Voters

    People who are in a cult should simply stay away from the ballot box. I know it is sometimes hard to recognize a mental health problem personally. Even if you consider yourself healthy, check your symptoms. You may be in a cult and not know it. Be self-aware enough to ask yourself the question.

    Hint: if you voted for Trump twice, seek help and don’t vote.

    Mentally Infirmed

    Not all people who have mental health issues should refrain from voting. But if you have been diagnosed with severe cognitive conditions which impair your ability to make rational decisions, don’t vote.

    Recently, a younger voter advanced the idea that older people should not vote. His reasoning is that we have screwed up the planet; generally vote for candidates and issues that hurt his generation; and vote for our short-term interest at the expense of his future.

    Some of that makes sense, but the youth vote already has the power to overwhelm the older vote—if they choose to exercise that right. My advice to those who are young, well informed, have strong opinions, are mentally sound and not in a cult: vote.

    As Winston Churchill also said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, until you’ve tried all the others.”

    San José Spotlight columnist Rich Robinson is a political consultant, attorney and author of “The Shadow Candidate.” His columns appear every fourth Wednesday of the month.

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