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Letter: Stop pleading ignorance when it comes to voting

Everywhere I go on Duke's campus, I hear a pernicious argument used to justify not voting. It goes something like this: "I don't want to vote unless I'm confident in my knowledge of the candidates and the issues, and since I don't have the time to properly educate myself on those candidates and issues, I don't feel comfortable voting." I understand this line of logic: in fact, I support the sentiment from which it comes. Really understanding things before coming to a judgement on them is a skill that is sadly lacking in our current political discourse. However, is it really a sound argument against voting in this case?

The logic is certainly valid. If one doesn't know the issues whatsoever, I agree that they would be better served not voting at all, and if one really doesn't have time to learn about them, it follows that one shouldn't vote. The premise I take contention with, though, is whether any of us truly have no time to learn anything at all about the upcoming election. Websites like will provide you with summaries of the candidates' positions in almost any race in any state you care to name. will give you concise information about how to register, how to vote in North Carolina, and how to send in an absentee ballot elsewhere. Spending even a few minutes reading up on the candidates can go a long way. North Carolina will even accept incomplete ballots, so if there are certain races you can't find enough information about, you can just not vote for that particular race. 

If, even with all these resources, you can't find enough time to make yourself comfortable voting, I understand, and I wish no ill on anyone for whom that's the case! On the contrary, I respect you for interrogating your own argument and making sure that it's as sound as it's purported to be. What I don't want is for anyone to fall into the trap that I so often do, to construct an elaborate justification for not doing something that I really should just suck it up and do. 

Now take a study break, and vote!

Liam Pulsifer is a Trinity junior.


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