Consider the public choice theorist Gordon Tullock and his argument for not voting.
This is a very sound logical reason not to vote, you aren't going to make a difference. If you ignore this argument and vote, you aren't acting logically.
But there are other reasons not to vote. Politicians lie to us about what they will do when they are elected. I am currently reading FDR Goes To War. It is a fascinating chronicle of how FDR ran on a peace platform, while desperately, behind the scenes, working to get the United States involved in the war against Germany and Japan.
George H.W. Bush while campaigning famously said, "Read my lips, no new taxes." He raised taxes.
George W. Bush said he would institute a humble foreign policy if he became president. He became president and attacked Iraq and Afghanistan.
Barack Obama pledged, when he first ran for president, that he would close Guantanamo. Four years later, Guantanamo remains open.
Thus, for those who can somehow, in their minds, get past the Tullock argument for not voting, they then have to get past the fact that a vote for any president does not provide any clue as to what that person will do in office. Presidential candidates consistently say one thing to get elected even though they believe the opposite and will do the opposite.
Mitt Romney, for example, is a serial flip flopper. Who knows what he will do in office?
And who the hell knows what Obama is planning if he gets re-elected?
Bottom line, even if you vote and your vote matters, it isn't clear at all what the person you vote for will do once in office. Thus, another very good reason that stands on its own to stay at home and not vote.
Then, of course, there is what the Nobel Prize laureate economist Friedrich Hayek wrote in his brilliant chapter in The Road to Serfdom, tiltled, "Why the Worst Get on Top":
..if we wish to find a high degree of uniformity and similarity of outlook, we have to descend to the regions of lower moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive and "common" instincts and tastes prevail. This does not mean that the majority of people have low moral standards. It is, as it were, the lowest common denominator which unites the largest number of people. If a numerous group is needed, strong enough to impose their views on the values of life of all the rest, it will never be those with highly differentiated and developed tastes--it will be those who form the "mass" in the derogatory sense of the term, the least original and independent, who will be able to put weight of their numbers behind their particular ideals...
[A] potential dictator...will be able to obtain the support of all the docile and gullible, who have no strong convictions of their own but are prepared to accept a ready-made system of values if it is only drummed into their ears sufficiently loudly and frequently. It is those whose vague and imperfectly formed ideas are easily swayed and whose passions and emotions are readily aroused who will thus swell the ranks of the totalitarian party.Indeed, if we understand what Hayek is saying, we can see that a democracy is as bad as other forms of government, perhaps worse, in that it gives the opportunity for regular change in government, where the masses can be directed more and more toward totalitarian views, nibble by nibble.
That is, voting implies constant change toward more and more laws that will benefit only the few. For voters are voting in congressmen to be "lawmakers". This implies change in laws. And voting for a president means electing someone who will read and execute laws anyway he sees fit, to meet his agenda. The founding fathers made a great mistake creating a base of governing people who can change laws and a president who can run rampant supposedly executing these laws.
If the founding fathers truly understood the importance of the rule of law, the non-aggression principle and a private property society, it is difficult to understand why they would have constructed a system that at its core has a massive body of elected meddlers. What are all these laws the meddlers are making? It creates nothing but confusion, complexity and an edge for those who can get to the lawmakers and influence them.
Wouldn't it have been much better to adopt the non-aggression principle and a declaration recognizing the sanctity of private property and leave it at that?
The constant changing of laws results in major power groups organizing in ways to attempt to sway laws in their favor. None of these laws have anything to do with the non-aggression principle and recognition of the sanctity of private property. Indeed, all the laws tend to do is violate the non-aggression principle and the sanctity of private property. It causes the Koch brother types, the Sheldon Adelson types and the George Soros types to attempt to edge the lawmaking for their benefit. And, of course, the congressman will also create rules, and presidents will execute laws, that, for the most part, are in line with totalitarian actions that will help them maintain the greatest control and influence while they are in power. But, remember, it is the lawmaking itself that is at the core causing the confusion, complexity and a less free world.
Thus, voting is a contradiction for the advocate of freedom. A freedom advocate shouldn't be in favor of electing "lawmakers" that create new laws and presidents that willy nilly interpret laws far from the principles of the non-aggression principle . A freedom advocate should instead be in favor of a society that at a gut level has a respect for private property and respect for the non-aggression principle. No voting required and no lawmakers required.
Voting is a charade that fools the masses into thinking they have a say and a chance of coming out on top, when the game is indeed played at a very sophisticated level by power players for their benefit, where polls are taken so that politicians know exactly what to say to gain votes, despite what they will do when they are in power. Millions upon millions of votes, in other words, will be cast that on an individual basis will have zero impact, but will make all those voting "feel good". It's dumb.
The founding fathers messed up. They should have written the Constitution without any reference to elections, and started and ended the Constitution this way:
We hold that people should be allowed to live and let live.That they didn't has resulted in packs of competing power players seeking to change laws in their favor, mostly in an attempt to put more controls on the rest of us. It makes no sense for any of the rest of us to play this game.
When a private property society comes, there will be no voting and no lawmakers. You can start the world on that path. Don't vote. Live and let live. The more and more people that abide by live and let live, the freer the world gets. No voting required.