Get our newsletters
Guest Opinion

When voting, focus on the meaning, not the math


My individual vote is extremely unlikely to mathematically make a difference. But the real question I ask is, is it meaningful? For me, the answer is “yes,” and here are some of the main reasons:

1. It allows me to participate in the American democratic process, a process that many people have given or devoted their lives to ensure I can do it. I fulfill what I feel is a moral obligation, and it makes me feel better. This is meaningful to me.

2. It contributes to a collective voice that certainly has impact. Think of it this way, if everyone felt it was meaningless and did not vote, then our destiny would certainly be completely outside of our control. Zero votes, zero impact. But with the first vote, and each thereafter, there is a non-zero accumulation of impact. I do not view myself as a zero in life. Having a non-zero impact, regardless of how infinitesimal it might be is still infinitely greater than zero. In many ways, this is the very definition of “meaningful.” It is like a lottery ticket. If you do not purchase one, you have exactly zero chance of winning. While purchasing a single ticket might be extremely long odds, it is still infinitely higher than the zero odds with no ticket.

3. By voting I set an example of civic engagement, and I am quite certain that my example has influenced others to participate, and these in turn have undoubtedly influenced yet others. The seed grows and emerges much more powerful, and helps to build a collective force that is certainly mathematically many times more powerful than my single vote. If I did not try, then I certainly would be rewarded with zero impact, zero power. For me, this contribution is very meaningful and important.

4. My opinion is if someone does not vote, they do not earn the right to present or argue their viewpoints. This is just my personal view, but for me it is evidence of putting your mouth where your money is. I back up my viewpoint with tangible action, and I find this meaningful.

So while others may focus on the math alone, I focus on the meaning and what that means to my personal sense of character and my sense of having some control over my destiny. I simply feel we must not view ourselves as powerless individuals.

Michael Nieburg is a former Bucks County resident and Bensalem High School graduate now living in Covington, LA.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.