Don't Apologize, Meg, Voting Is Dumb

Whitman's ballot wouldn't have made a difference anyway
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2009 10:42 AM CDT
Don't Apologize, Meg, Voting Is Dumb
Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman speaks at a news conference at the California Republican Convention in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Francis Specker)

Meg Whitman has taken heat for her, ahem, spotty voting record—the ex-CEO wasn’t even registered to vote until 2002—and, of course, she has apologized. But she shouldn’t have, writes Christopher Beam for Slate. Economists have long argued that, from an individual’s perspective, voting is irrational. The odds that your vote will determine the outcome of an election are, statistically speaking, close to zero; in California "you're more likely to win the Powerball jackpot thousands of times over than to swing the election."

Sure, most Americans bristle at that suggestion, and trot out the “What if everyone thought that way?” rationale. But everyone doesn’t think that way and, if they did, “I would vote,” one economist says. Besides, as a CEO, Whitman could do a lot more to influence American life with an hour at the office than an hour at the polling place. But Beam acknowledges that Whitman coming out "against voting would be like a CEO coming out against bonuses"—it ain't going to happen.  (More voting stories.)

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