You. Must. Vote.


Good morning, John! Here in the United States, election season is upon us. It’s on the front page of the newspaper every day! And I want to make it clear: from my perspective, there is only one wrong vote and that is no vote. And I’m tired of people telling me their “good reasons” why they’re not voting this year. Almost all of the reasons that I hear are terrible! So let’s go through these terrible reasons one-by-one. #1: “I don’t live in America or am not yet 18”. Okay! You get a pass! You’re the only one. “Elections are controlled entirely by Superpacs and Special Interest Groups”. Oh…really? Cos, uh…I’m, uh, I’m a little confused. How many votes do Superpacs get? That’s right! ZERO! You know how many votes the richest, most powerful man in America gets to cast? One. He gets to cast one vote; the same number as you. Voting is, if nothing else…it is fair. “No election is ever decided by one vote. Mine can’t matter!” Okay. Voting, like almost everything that humans do, is a community activity. The stuff you do…oftentimes, doesn’t have an effect unless you multiply it by all of the people who do it with you. While one single vote might not count toward who wins the election, every vote DOES count toward how politicians perceive their electorate: the people they represent. An example: say a guy creates a YouTube video. A bunch of people watch it. Half of them are Twihards and half of them are, like, BBC Drama fans. If the Twihards leave comments 90% of the time and the Whovians leave comments 10% of the time, then the person who makes the video will have no idea that all those Whovians are there and so they will be much more likely in the future to make content for the Twihards. Even if, after all is said and done, there are more Twilight comments, every single Doctor Who fan comment counts towards that creator’s desire to make content for those people. Voting is the YouTube comments of government. Also, this why commenting on YouTube videos is important, especially if you feel uncomfortable doing it, because if you do, chances are your demographic is underrepresented in the comments and so I won’t make content for you. “I don’t live in a swing state, so it’s not gonna matter.” Nooooooooooooooooooo! NO! NO! NO! If every Democrat in Utah or every Californian Republican decided not to go to the polls because “their vote didn’t matter”, not only would they tremendously underrepresented in local elections, but worst: politicians would not take those people’s viewpoints into account, because what do they care if they don’t vote? “I just…don’t have time!” I can understand this to a certain extent. I’ve been there. And I would like to encourage you to investigate early voting in your state because it’s pretty easy nowadays in most places. The top link of the description will take you to a place that will help you figure that out. “But dude…everything is terrible.” I hear this a lot: that all politicians are terrible and that nothing ever changes, but not only do I not believe it, it’s, like, objectively untrue. Like, interracial marriage used to be illegal and soon, gay marriage will not be illegal. I really believe that. As inefficient and infuriating American democracy can be, it is a pretty good system and has done pretty well by us. Like, yes, we have made some terrible decisions in our past…but America is, overall, pretty great, and democracy, I think, is one of the big reasons why that happened. Final reason why you might not vote this November: “I’m not registered.” Yeah! That would be a problem, and there is a deadline and it is coming up so go to the top link in the description if you are not registered to vote and register to vote! NOW! I personally think, and you are welcome to disagree with me, that voting in America isn’t a privilege, it’s a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we have to our country, to ourselves, to our fellow Americans, to the rest of the world and to the future. Because this country’s laws, and what this country does, affects everything! This is our opportunity to have the exact same amount of influence on the future of the world as…the richest, most powerful people in the country. I can’t believe people pass that opportunity up. John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.




Comments
  1. I never could understand how people could not vote just because they don't want to.  People have lost and are losing thier lives just to vote. 

  2. John & Hank Green are such blessings they are everything that Nash Grier is not
    They have such a young impressionable audience and spread the best knowledge and crush ignorance and oh my god they are so important and i love everything they stand for

  3. Could you please make a version of this for the UK general elections that are coming up?

    Obviously you're not in the UK but there are so many people from the UK who do watch, and they could also share the video with others and it would have a big impact :). 

  4. I completely agree with you, Hank, when you say that voting is not a privilege, but a responsibility. Many people in America and other countries have fought and died for their right to vote and here are some people taking that right for granted. If people stop voting there will be no reason for the government to listen to the citizens, which allows for tyranny.

  5. People don't seem to think super PACs or special interests control the elections… they seem to think that they control the politics of people who have been elected.
    I hsve no personal experience voting (I am under 18) but people I know who can vote often say that it doesn't matter who they vote for/gets elected because officials stop listening to voters and start listening to special interests as soon as they take office.

    Also, super PACs do "get to vote" by advertising everywhere and on everything, influencing actual people and their chosen votes.

  6. I would love to see this as more generic so that I can post it for every single election in Canada too. We have a provincial election coming up and the Canadian election is coming up soon too. All your comments are extremely relevant to elections all over the world. Thank you for this! I posted it anyway with the caveat that regardless of the american slant it's all still true for us!

  7. I've never understood why the hell the US has that crazy system of registration to vote.
    Just….why.

  8. Eh, I might as well vote. I know it wont matter anyway, because I live in California, so I know my district's electoral vote will always be Democrat like it always has been.

  9. I completely agree. I head about a mission trip in a third world country some people went on and the natives of that country were absolutely shocked to hear that so many people don't vote in America when they have the ability to do so.

  10. Wealthy and special interest groups control all policy. The electorates vote decides who gets the office. The super pacs and millionaires fund BOTH sides, and policy is made for them. Whether democrat or republican.

  11. Hank – in Australia it is compulsory to vote, would you want that in the US? Personally I don't like it, it forces the vote of people who are disconnected and disinterested into choosing from 2 dominant parties, which at the moment stinks because they're both pretty bad at the moment, and those who leave their ballot blank and 'donkey' vote half the time don't even realise that vote STILL counts and goes toward the count of the party already in power! News media also manipulates the population's POV too. head desk – so tired.

  12. is america great ? there are millions of people around the world who would disagree . the American government are psychopaths . i believe most of the American people are decent but holy crap your leaders are mental .

  13. I have what I think is a good reason for some people not to vote. If a person isn't thoroughly informed about what they're voting on, they shouldn't vote, because they don't actually know what they're voting on. And you could say "well, then they should get informed", but for some people politics are really annoying and it'd be like forcing pacifists to watch boxing. For me, politics annoys me a lot and if I paid that much attention to it, I'd be a really angry person. So, to preserve my sanity, I do not. And so I don't vote. I think this is a valid reason for some people.

  14. Well, since you told me to leave a comment… Yes, it's true, your vote means almost nothing. Economically speaking, your vote is worth an infinitesmal fraction of a penny: https://reason.com/archives/2012/10/03/your-vote-doesnt-count
    So, one would expect the same outcome morally, or by any other subjective or objective measure of its effect.
    Also, it doesn't make much difference policy-wise who you vote for, especially not in America. Both parties seem to have basically the same MO. Furthermore, there are good arguments that the entire system is abusive, and certainly not democratic, and a vote just tells those in power "I'm okay with all this".
    People didn't directly 'vote in' interracial marriage, or civil rights, nor will they do so for gay marriage (or am I wrong here?). Society just changed as a whole, it's all about culture/propaganda. Even if voting for this or that president directly resulted in the changing of this or that policy, one must keep in mind the infinitesmalization mentioned above.
    If voter turnout gets down to 1%, I might consider it.

    All that said, if I lived in the US, and I had to vote, I'd vote for Bernie Sanders. He seems like a sweetheart.

  15. Actually with the electoral college, voting isn't very fair… People in Ohio get a much bigger vote than people in california for example…

  16. What's the point of voting if some electoral college run by the wealthy elite actually appoints the president? As a non-voter, this is the real point I would like you to address, not about picking the lesser of two evils, as an established elite can pick whoever they want, while we still believe in the fallacy that our vote counts.

  17. I just made a video on why I'm not voting. There's no reason to, really. The outcome will be EXACTLY the same if you don't vote.

  18. Have you ever watched the HBO series The Newsroom? If not I think you should because I brings up a lot of political issues including what you talked about in the video. Nerd Fighters watch The Newsroom please!

  19. Yes, but you're vote is limited, and is not going to be counted correctly because of gerrymandering, and the electoral collage. Not only that, but you really only get the choice of two candidates from the two riches parties, backed by rich people, and voting for anyone else is basically not voting. The problem can be compounded if one party candidate is far more backed and popular, then you really only have one vote for one candidate that matters.

    I would be more enthusiastic about voting, if the system wasn't so broken, and getting worse every year.

  20. Hank!!! I have a question!!! Look at the 'Adam Ruins Everything- Elections.' Is that true? I trust you more than the internet!!! Thank you if you answer!!!

  21. i fall in both catogries of reason 1. but i want to vote for my own congress next year but its only a few months before my 18th birthday so i cant vote then.

  22. I am not voting next year, it is the first election i would be able to vote, however, i dislike all 3,157,765 candidates. I'd feel wrong voting for any of them really.

  23. I'll be voting this year but politicians don't care if they did they would not have made so many terrible choices "for the people" in the last decade specifically the last 8 years

  24. Hi, Hank. I'm from the future, it's 2016, and now we have a candidate that is making many people want to vote for the first time. Yay.

  25. ok. this video made me write this. It make me call myself a nerdfighter. Moreover, just so you know, i know you won't read it, but maybe somebody will. I am also Bohemian patriot, Chtistian and Traveller. My past is part nerdy, but now, i would say it is not that nerdy for me to be honored by that call. But John allowed me to call myself a nerdfighter in one of his videos, so thats it. im not twilight fan.

  26. Elections are controlled by the electorate.  Our votes do not count.  And the electorates distorts the vote.  And the rich control them.

  27. I wish I could vote for one party's presidential candidate but chose the other party's nominee to oppose my incumbent U.S. senator but sadly, I can't do that. One party or the other. The problems you face when you vote for the person, not the party.

  28. There's a quote I quite like from a party political broadcast for the Lib Dems in the UK back in 1997 with John Cleese which roughly goes "half of you watching this right now would vote for the Liberal Democrats if you thought they could win". I've never looked into whether that particular statistic ever appeared to be true but at least in the UK we do seem to have a general mentality of "well why vote for that party when the Tories or Labour will just win instead", so we either don't vote, handing more votes to the two main parties, or we vote start considering whether we should actually just vote for the two main parties as the election looms ever closer.

    And I think with First Past the Post, the electoral system employed within the UK, certainly aids in maintaining that mentality. In some constituencies you're vote really just doesn't matter (for example, I like in a constituency that has been represented by Conservative MPs for the last 100 years or so, gaining full majorities in all but two elections), so in some cases it really doesn't matter who you vote for.

    I can only imagine what the situation is like in the US after watching so many Crash Course videos and Vlogbrothers videos talking about gerrymandering, delegates and superdelegates which all just seem to be there to ensure the success of the parties rather than successful implementation of any sort of democratic process.

  29. In addition to all of Hank's amazing points, I also think we have a responsibility to the people who fought and died for our right to vote in a democracy. If you're black you owe it to the civil rights movement, if you're a woman you owe it to the suffragettes, and even if you're a white land-owning man (the group of Americans who have had the right to vote for the longest period of time), you STILL owe it to the revolutionary war soldiers who fought for our right to establish our own nation! Is our country fucking up a lot lately? Yes. Are there massive issues with our electoral system? Yes. Is the best way to change those things to sit out the process entirely? NO. Imperfect though it may be, voting is our one opportunity to FORCE our representatives to hear our voices. Even if our votes don't "count" in the way we imagine they should, your vote will still BE COUNTED.

  30. Hey Hank. Going back to the special interests groups and superpacs thing. I think a lot of people are more concerned that special interest groups "control" elections because they choose people who are running for office that represent the interests of the wealthy elite and super rich companies, rather than the needs and/or interests of the people.
    I'm probably just talking out for my ass tbh, but I really want to start a solid discussion about this because I want to know more. Anyone want to help me out here? This is one area that I don't feel comfortable about yet and there's just something just seems inherently wrong about super pacs and species interest groups, but I don't particularly know why. Late night comedians often make a big deal about them (The Colber Repor) and I thought that's why. I guess in his case he was more so showing how easy it was to make one and easily make it through campaigning/legal loopholes but Idk tbh, I watched those a long time ago.

  31. Hank, please watch "The decline of American democracy in one graph" by Vox. It does a great job of illustrating the problems with superpacs and special interest groups.

  32. What about people like me who believe in another political ideology eg Monarchy ( more power to the monarch since I am British) or communists. Who don't want there country to be a democracy.

  33. you were doing so well… and then you said american democracy. the constitution of the united states of america does not use any form of the word democracy. we are instead a republic. but yes i agree you should vote regardless.

  34. as a person who is part of the "…rest of the world…", American election results really do matter for me. I mean, just last month and 3 months ago my government (which is Indonesian government) get into a spat with the PRC government over the south china sea, and the only reason why indonesian government dare to do that is because we know that the chinese won't do anything extreme because we know americans will react to that, because, you know, AMERICA REALLY IS THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD AND THEY ARE TO BE FEARED, and probably respected.

  35. I don't want to vote for the lesser of two evils but that doesn't mean I won't vote!! I will vote for the greater good and that will be Jill Stein of the green party. Anyone who leans more towards conservative values should vote for Gary Johnson (Libertarian). We need to STOP Trump or Hillary from getting elected! Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt politician in U.S. history and Trump is being paid by the DNC to scare people into voting for Hillary. These two people are not our only options. Third party candidates are on the rise this election because we are faced with the worst two choices in the history of elections and Americans are losing their minds over the rigged system that has forced these two assholes upon us. This is a hostile takeover of our government by Corporations and other elite individuals….AMERICA WAKE UP!!!

  36. When I was younger growing up in Australia, I thought the idea of non-compulsory voting was completely foreign, until I learnt that USA was the same. Voting is a responsibility of a citizen of any nation or organization – not voting means you don't care at all about the country you live in. Plesse vote if you are American – fulfil your responsibility.

  37. I will vote. That said, a buddy had a great line as to why he wont. He said ' my vote will just get cancled out by a dead person'. He said that because in 2008 his state certified an election even though several CEMETERYS ( You read that right) voted for obama . Couldn't argue wth that stance.

  38. The system is rigged, that's it's it.  As much as I like Trump I know voting will go to waste because I know for a fact living in Philly they will just throw my vote out because the system is rigged.

  39. I'm voting this year but it's a little infuriating in Texas because several of my friends from other states have already voted via mail in ballots but I can't because, to my knowledge, Texas only allows you to do that if you have a reason that isn't being lazy or busy (you have to be elderly, disabled, out of state, or in prison). So voting day is gonna be stressful.

  40. "But muh state is all Republikanz" Yeah, but if you don't vote your state will be Democrats. Unless you live in Mississippi.

  41. first L: Bruh. SuperPACs and Lobbyists buy out politicians and electoral votes. That's why the shit seems rigged. Just because technically Koch and I each get '1' vote doesn't mean anything in praxis.

    second L: Yeah, I can marry a white womyn, but I still am more likely to get convicted for a crime than a white person. LGBTQI+ rights aren't solved just because same-sex marriage is a thing. We still invade places and bomb them to take resources or advance political interests. Those things will not change just because you vote for Jill Stein or whatever.

    third L: So many things make your vote void: first-past-the-post voting [makes it nigh impossible to change the political landscape, so the same types of people keep getting elected], the Electoral College [kills popular vote; doesn't even equalize state populations in voting like it's supposed to do, and basically makes it so the same types people get elected], voting ID laws [:|], and gerrymandering [makes it so your district will always go to the same political party] (just to name a few).

    No matter what happens, the people don't have the power in the political sphere.

  42. 0:39 Hank, yes, wealthy businessmen get 1 vote, but the 538 electors who actually decide the president get one vote too. Plus if literally all I'm voting for is the elector to actually elect the president, and the vote I cast doesn't elect the president, what is the point of voting?

  43. One vote can matter as shown by the fact that Aaron Burr lost to Thomas Jefferson by one vote… Alexander Hamilton's vote…

  44. An American's vote does matter due to the electoral collage and the electors are made to vote for what the people want.

  45. In my opinion, you should only vote if you're extremely confident without doubts on who to choose, cause if you're like that, that means you spent a lot of time thinking, and probably chosen what's best.

  46. This is a really good video but a bigger problem of American democracy is the two party system like why? Most people are scared to vote for independents or libertarians because they think they're not gonna win anyway but exactly like Hank said, multiply that by the total number of people who vote, now it matters. So if you like an independent, vote for them. Especially in the 2016 election a lot of people agreed that both the republican and democratic nominees were terrible, and yet people barely voted for third parties. If you dislike both red and blue, and want to vote green, vote Green. It matters.

  47. I feel like for the past few elections, I have not voted FOR someone so much as voted AGAINST someone. As the two main parties seem ever more unwilling to cooperate with each other on anything, this is increasingly the case. I find myself voting for someone I don’t really want only because that person has the best chance of beating someone I like even less, and my desire to keep someone I think poses a real threat to the future out of office outweighs any other concern. Does anyone else feel this way?

  48. Thank you for speaking up for voting. I hope you did in 2016, too (I think John might have, but I forget until I get back to that time as I work through all your videos.)

  49. Am I the only person under 18 who's really excited to vote? like I can't wait to be able to decide how our country is run. It seems like the coolest privilege ever.

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