What if nobody voted in the 2016 Presidential Election?
In the year of 2016, the world has experienced innumerable events of triumph and disaster. Team USA destroyed the competition in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with a total of 121 medals; the “beyhive” swarmed with excitement over Beyoncé’s World Tour; in Abu Dhabi, a plane went around the entire world without a drop of fuel. Yet, for the most part, 2016 has been scarred with horrendous tragedies. Mass shootings, terrorism and general mayhem continue to dominate the headlines; beloved cultural icons like Muhammad Ali, Prince, Gene Wilder, and David Bowie have passed, and the political landscape is absolutely embarrassing both at home and abroad.
The Republican Party has nominated Donald Trump for President of the United States. For at least half of the people who just read that sentence, worry and disgust ran through them.
The same is true for the Democratic Party, who has nominated Hilary Clinton for President of the United States.
As a result, the Presidential Election of 2016 has left many Americans saying:
Most people feel hopeless about the outcome, joking that they will move if Trump or Clinton become president. What’s more upsetting, the American people are wondering if their vote even matters. The creation of the 12th amendment has helped to fuel this idea. Created in 1804, this amendment establishes the Electoral College, which meets in their respective states, and; by ballot, votes for president and vice president.
But what if nobody voted? What if the American people decided to unite themselves in something other than the victory of a long fought war? What if we did exactly what we were given the right to do? And did it in a peaceful protest against the United States government?
After all, The Declaration Of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness – Than to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government….”
So, what would happen if nobody voted in the 2016 Presidential election?
If the American people outside of the Electoral College did not vote, then the electors would vote. Each state has a minimum of three electors, so essentially less than 1,000 people would decide the next president. In 21 states it is legal for electors to vote on their own ignoring the results of the election by the people.
Now, if the Electoral College was prohibited from convening because of the lack of votes, it would be treated as a “tie”, and the House of Representatives would decide on the top three contenders. They would face off with each state casting one vote. Whoever wins a majority of states wins the election. The process is the same for the Vice Presidency, except the US Senate would make that selection.
Unfortunately, third party candidate Gary Johnson did not receive enough votes in the general elections to appear in the presidential debates. However, his name will still appear on the ballot. This could provide some hope in knowing the vote is not only between Clinton and Trump. It also provides the potential for him to take away electoral votes from the two major party candidates. This would ensure that none of the candidates would receive the golden 270 votes required to win; thus, issuing a “tie” procedure as previously outlined. Unfortunately, people would rather throw their vote away by not voting for any political candidate.
So, does not voting in this 2016 presidential election still sound appealing? Well, if so, consider this:
There’s a mindset in a democratic system that not voting is a negative thing, not an act of defiance, but an unwillingness to want to be represented; even worse, it can be seen as a desire to let down those who fought to give you the right to vote. So, by not voting, the power structure would be rendered illegitimate. We would be faced with the option of allowing the establishment to impose their own government of sorts in the circumstances, which would be more representative of multi-partisan voices, but, nevertheless, still undemocratic. Our government would still be scrutinized as an unjust hierarchy only serving the needs of ruling-class privilege.
Voting is our choice. Choosing to not vote gives us an absent voice. Instead of being absent, and giving the government more reason to not listen to our voice, let’s stand together and write in what we want. If the election ballot only has two names – Donald Trump and Hiliary Clinton—think of it as a trick question on a test. The answer is obviously not “C. Either A or B”, so when in doubt, just choose “D. None of the above” and take back the power of your voice.