Mar 02 2016

Responsibility of the Electorate

When we vote in elections, we have a responsibility to vote well, based on good knowledge of the choices available to us.

The word “FIDUCIARY” describes a state of legal or ethical trust between people or groups of people. We consider that our elected representatives have a fiduciary responsibility to fulfill our expectations that they will act in a manner consistent with their campaign statements. When we decided to vote for them, we entered into this trust relationship with them.

As voters, we have a responsibility to vote. We owe that simple task to the other members of our society as well as ourselves. The democratic part of our government is supposed to reflect the will of the people. If we don’t vote, it’s not working the way it’s supposed to work.

But we also have a responsibility to exercise our right to vote from a foundation of knowledge that allows us to express a wisely composed opinion of the candidates and/or issues we vote for. Too many voters seem to blindly follow a party line or vote by name recognition or some other trivial factor that does not involve any wisdom.

Here are some steps we can use to accumulate the knowledge we need to vote well:

  • Take the time to study the history of our nation and how our government is designed to work
  • Create an opinion on how our government is not currently working well and how it might be improved
  • Study candidates and issues to separate political rhetoric from facts
  • Weigh candidates and issues against opposing viewpoints with a self-honest evaluation, attempting to stay detached and fair
  • Apply a rigorous ethical analysis of what is best for all parts of our society, not just ourselves or the small groups we frequent

We have a fiduciary responsibility to vote wisely and vote well. We owe this to everybody else who is doing the same thing, trying to make our democratic system work. We all have entered into a trust relationship with each other on this accord.

Any who don’t vote or don’t vote well, have little room to complain about the state of society.