I will be perfectly honest, for me voting my conscience meant not voting for a POTUS this election. I know, some of you just audibly gasped (or cursed). And that’s okay. I am completely at peace with my decision, as I hope you are.
I’m not all of the sudden pro-abortion or Planned Parenthood because I didn’t vote Trump. Nor am I pro-rape culture or career politicians because I didn’t vote Clinton. Likewise, I am no less independent in my political ideology because I didn’t vote third-party (or independent). I am someone who wasn’t willing to compromise my ethical values to such a degree that would allow me to vote for any of the front-runners in this race.
Typically, I would agree with those of you who say, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.” But don’t mistake my not voting for a presidential candidate for apathy, laziness or being politically uninformed. This election I am exercising my right not to vote for the candidates running for the office of the President of the United States.
Yes, I could write someone in. But, even that wouldn’t be holding true to my personal convictions of voting for a candidate that I can at least halfway support.
I know, how dare I. I am, after all seeking a political science degree.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t (or you shouldn’t) participate in the other general elections. Voting for your Congressional candidates is vastly important, as is voting on ballot measures that affect your state and community. Abstaining from voting for a “lesser of two (fill in the blank),” doesn’t have to mean not participating in the democratic process.
Don’t let anyone bully you into voting for someone you can’t in good conscience justify voting for. And yes, not voting for a third-party candidate because “any vote not for Hillary is a vote for Trump” and vice versa is a just as ridiculous as it sounds.
So there will be no, “I voted” sticker stuck to my T-shirt or badge posted on any social media page this year. Did I copout? I don’t think so. I simply voted my conscience.
Guest Author: Kristi Reed is a freelance writer and photographer living in SE Asia with her family. She is actively engaged in combatting global injustice, ending modern-day slavery and documenting current world events. Kristi is currently seeking a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University.
[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Lead Journal.]