Editorial Board

No Excuses. Go Vote.

There are a million reasons not to cast a ballot. Ignore them.

Make a choice.

Photographer: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

There is no shortage of reasons not to vote in today’s election, and all of them contain some logic.

Voting is irrational, since the chance of a single vote deciding a national election is infinitesimal. People are busy. Lines at polling sites can be long. The presidential campaign has been depressing. Both parties are captured by special interests. Silence is a form of protest. And hey, if you can’t post a ballot selfie to Facebook because of some musty old law meant to stop vote-buying, what’s the point?

Well, maybe not all of the reasons are logical. But all deserve to be rejected.

However irrational, voting is essential to the survival of democracy, which rests upon public participation in elections. “We the people” should never expect others to speak for us.

However ineffective, voting for a third-party candidate is a better form of protest than staying home. In politics, silence -- regardless of its intent -- is perceived as acquiescence.

Finally, however imperfect, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will affect the future of the U.S. in profound ways for many years to come. Refusing to cast a ballot because neither choice is ideal is a coward’s way out.

All of the major challenges facing the country become more difficult when voters stay home, because those citizens tend to be more moderate than party loyalists who can be counted on to vote. Solutions lie in the broad middle. So do the majority of citizens. But only about six in 10 cast ballots in a presidential year. In off-year elections, it’s four in 10.

Low-turnout elections are not the only cause of Washington’s dysfunction, but they are a contributor to it. To be part of the solution, go vote.

    --Editors: Francis Barry, Michael Newman.

    To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net .

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