This answer is subject to varied opinions. Here are a few opinions of Answers.com contributors:
Two reasons to vote
- If you do not like who is in office or who is running then by voting, and if you live in the U.S. by voting you may be able to get those you least desire out of office and add more seats in senate for a balance. Soldiers died to keep America and Canada free although that freedom seems to be waning little by little we should vote even if it means voting between the lesser of two evils
- The right to complain. Many people feel that if you do not make your voice be heard when it matters, you do not have the right to complain later. If you feel strongly on certain issues, such as social security or abortion, than you need to look for the candidate that best fits your views.
I wish this was true. Politicians are put there to give you the illusion you have a choice, you don't. Banks and corporations own and run this world, and they own us. Your system of elections illustrates this. How many senators are from poor backgrounds? To even run for the office of president requires substantial financial backing. Voting only perpetuates this myth of democracy.
Not to be too strong here, but the last paragraph above is one of the major reasons why the current system has serious problems.
Failure to vote results in the system being dominated only by those who are strongly motivated by some idea (and thus, tend to be single-issue voters), and thus, extremism (of all forms) holds much larger influence than belief in those issues actually has.
In essence, since by giving up on the existing system as bent, corrupt, or otherwise "not perfect", you actual reinforce the system's tendency to be all of those negatives. The system BECOMES corrupted because people refuse to take responsibility for fixing it; by abdicating the responsibility to vote (and, be informed about the vote you are casting), you, the citizen, are DIRECTLY responsible for the lack of "quality" politicians. That is, people get EXACTLY the kind of representative they are asking for, and if you, the citizen don't ask (by voting) for anything, then how are they (politicians) supposed to know what you want? Public opinion polls? Door to door canvasing? Prayer?
Voting is the only sure-fire way to indicate to politicians what you, the citizen, actually want and desire.
To put is succinctly, the two major reasons why you absolutely, positively MUST vote if you want a functional representative democracy are:
- If everyone (or at least, the very large majority) votes, then politicians know exactly what the electorate as a whole wants, and which ideas/opinions are merely those of who like to scream loud, but which have little actual popularity. That is, by voting, marginal ideas and groups are given exactly the amount of attention they deserve: very little.
- While money can buy influence (and media time), in the very end analysis, it can't buy an election. Votes are what actually elect people, and while money can sway people's minds, having virtually everyone vote means that it becomes much harder for that money to influence everyone, and it can no longer be effective by only buying the loyalty of small groups. In the end, this means that politicians will (by necessity) become more interested in finding out which ideas are truly popular with everyone, not just those ideas which have some money backing them.
Change does not come overnight; if more people vote, then, slowly, we will get better quality politicians. Frankly, it is the fault of the people who don't vote for why the current generation of politicians are so miserable, not the fault of the people who voted those people in; to put it even more bluntly, if only 10% of the TOTAL ELECTORATE bothers to vote in an election, how is it NOT the fault of those other 90% that the elected person doesn't properly represent the entire population's views? And, yes, we get less than 10% voting in many elections; even in hugely contested elections (such as the 2008 Presidential election), the US had barely 62% of all eligible votes bother to vote.
And you wonder why politicians are crap. We get exactly the kind of politician we deserve.