Not voting

Seth Wildschut

Photo by David Robert

It’s not as easy as you might think to find someone who made a conscious decision not to vote on Tuesday. It seems, until the polls close, everyone is a voter. Then the numbers roll in, and we begin to see that fewer people chose to stand in line and fill in the little oval in order to add their voices to the whisper. Seth Wildschut is a student at Truckee Meadows Community College and a custodian at an elementary school. He’s 18, and Tuesday would have been his first opportunity to vote in an election. Wildschut was disillusioned by the last presidential election, in which the popular vote and the electoral vote parted ways. While he considers himself politically active and participates in protests, sit-ins and rallies, he is not a registered voter. As an example of his political activism, he spoke at the Save the School rallies last year when the Washoe County School District threatened to kill TMCC High.

Is it true that you’re not going to vote because you believe your vote doesn’t matter?

It’s more nationally that I believe my vote doesn’t matter. It matters more on local issues. In a local election, I can vote where my taxes might go or issues like the trench or things like that, but as far as nationally goes, since it’s not based on the popular vote, my vote really doesn’t count. It’s the electoral college. I may vote for one candidate, but in the end, if the electoral goes toward the other, my vote will be added in with my state whichever way it went, possibly to another candidate.

The way it went last election?


Did you register to vote in this election?


Is there a reason you chose not to?

I was against local voting, too. I was very cynical. I thought my vote wouldn’t matter, but my opinion has changed since then.

Why are you not so cynical any more?

Some of my teachers in high school told me how they’ve had experiences in voting locally and they actually got the policy they wanted, or the thing changed, and if you did get enough petitions or enough people voted locally, something could change.

The anti-train trench people got active; they got the signatures; they followed the legal procedures; and then the city of Reno filed a lawsuit. Now those people don’t get to vote on the train trench. Does that make you cynical about the local process?

It does. I think the people of Reno got screwed, but I think, in general, the good will outweigh the bad. In the gay marriage issue—not taking a position on it—the Mormons rallied enough votes, and they got what they wanted in the last election. It could go the other way this time. If the homosexual community rallied together, they could get their votes and go against that and get people to go the opposite way.

What other advice would you give?

To voters? Don’t just participate by voting. Look at other options for participating politically, too. Try to use all the available options, not just voting.