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Do we have a moral obligation to vote - Essay Example

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The question however, is whether or not we are morally obligated to vote. If we are, does our vote make any difference at all and is the act of voting even rational? The purpose of this essay is to discuss the…
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Do we have a moral obligation to vote

Based on the idea of individual morality, an act can be defined as rational if its expected costs do not exceed its expected benefits as defined by the individual making the decision. The expected costs of voting would include travel expenses as well as time spent researching the candidates and updating a voter’s registration card. It can be deduced then that the expected costs of voting are quite small. The outcome of having voted could result in the winning of either the candidate one has voted for or another candidate altogether. It is easy to decide not to vote as one single vote is almost irrelevant compared to millions of other votes; but if everyone adopted this viewpoint then no one would vote and we might end up living in a dictatorship form of government where the people have no say at all. So, it can be said that voting may cost an individual (even though the cost is rather miniscule) more then the expected benefit, as the individual can argue that their vote will never make a difference among all the other votes but the cost though small, is certain. This however, is from an individual’s perspective as opposed to looking at a group of people or the entire country.
It may be theoretically irrational for an individual to waste time and money voting as the outcome of the election will not balance on their vote, but the individual votes of a group of people suddenly becomes rational as the cost remains small to each individual but the election outcome in the group’s favor will be beneficial. From a consequentiality’s perspective, the goal is to act in the most moral way to bring about positive consequences for a group as a whole. This clearly means that voting is certainly the moral thing to do for the majority and outweighs the minimal costs to individuals.
Critically speaking however, it can also be said that moral responsibility is attached to individuals and their actions so seeking the best possible outcome should also ... Read More
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