Quotations about   voting

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



If you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu.

Ann Richards (1933-2006) American politician [Dorothy Ann Willis Richards]
(Attributed)

Richards regularly used the phrase, but it's unclear if she originated it. See here for more discussion.
Added on 5-Nov-20 | Last updated 15-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Richards, Ann

Another point of disagreement is not factual but involves the ethical/moral principle […] sometimes referred to as the “politics of moral witness.” Generally associated with the religious left, secular leftists implicitly invoke it when they reject LEV on the grounds that “a lesser of two evils is still evil.” Leaving aside the obvious rejoinder that this is exactly the point of lesser evil voting — i.e. to do less evil, what needs to be challenged is the assumption that voting should be seen a form of individual self-expression rather than as an act to be judged on its likely consequences. […] The basic moral principle at stake is simple: not only must we take responsibility for our actions, but the consequences of our actions for others are a far more important consideration than feeling good about ourselves.

Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) American linguist and activist
“An Eight Point Brief for LEV (Lesser Evil Voting)” (15 Jun 2016) [with John Halle]
    (Source)
Added on 21-Oct-20 | Last updated 21-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Chomsky, Noam

Political strategies and tactics are not jealous lovers. You don’t have to be monogamous. Direct Action will not feel betrayed if you also vote from time to time — you can be poly in your tactics. And I am. Of course I vote! If you’re a woman, or a person of color, or a person who doesn’t own property, or even a white male who doesn’t belong to the nobility, centuries of struggle and many deaths have bought you the right to vote. I vote to keep faith with peasant rebels and suffragist hunger strikers and civil rights workers braving the lynch mobs of the South, if for no other reason. But there is another reason — because who we vote for has an enormous impact on real peoples’ lives.

Starhawk (b. 1951) American writer, activist, feminist theologian [b. Miriam Simos]
“Pre-Election Day Thoughts,” blog post (7 Nov 2016)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Oct-20 | Last updated 19-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Starhawk

Build movements. Vote with your values, but vote strategically. Voting isn’t a Valentine. It’s a chess move.

Rebecca Solnit (b. 1961) American writer, historian, activist
Facebook (17 Oct 2016)
    (Source)

Solnit is credited with the core message of the last two sentences. She indicates (including from that Facebook post) that it was something she had said that was extracted and perhaps tweaked by May Boeve. E.g., "That 2016 aphorism that I sort of said and May Boeve made into this stand-alone slogan." (1 Nov 2018) "I said that off the cuff in 2016 and May Boeve caught it and it went on to have a nice life. It's also not the only chess move you get." (11 Aug 2020).

Variants:
  • "Voting is a chess move, not a valentine. And here's the joy of being politically engaged all year round every year; you get to work with a whole lot of chess pieces and players and strategies and long-term visions, so you don't agonize over whether this little hop with a pawn we call voting defines you. You get to define yourself by what you're passionately committed to, by who you align with, by your dreams and your visions, you get to move a lot of pieces a lot of times, you get heroic allies, and you play to win above, beyond, around elections. But you vote, because you know it matters too." (7 Nov 2016)
  • "I think of voting as a chess move, not a valentine. It’s just a little part of the picture of how we make the world." ("The 2000 Election Unleashed Disaster on the World. We Can’t Let that Happen Again in 2016," The Nation (3 Nov 2016))
  • "A vote is not a valentine. You are not confessing your love for the candidate. It's a chess move for the world you want to live in."
  • "Voting isn't a valentine, it's a chess move. Just one of many with one of your many pieces, if you're using what you've been given."
Added on 14-Oct-20 | Last updated 14-Oct-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Solnit, Rebecca

Let us not commit ourselves to the absurd and senseless dogma that the color of the skin shall be the basis of suffrage, the talisman of liberty.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“Suffrage and Safety,” speech, Ravenna, Ohio (4 Jul 1865)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Jul-20 | Last updated 17-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Garfield, James A.

The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Speech, Cooper Union, New York City (27 Feb 1860)
    (Source)

On preventing the spread of slavery to new states and territories. Sometimes paraphrased, "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution."
Added on 23-Apr-19 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lincoln, Abraham

Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well.

Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976) American screenwriter and novelist [James Dalton Trumbo]
The Remarkable Andrew (1942)

Based on Trumbo's 1941 book of the same name. Parallel text.
Added on 13-Nov-18 | Last updated 13-Nov-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Trumbo, Dalton

Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.

Franklin Pierce Adams (1881-1960) American journalist and humorist
Nods and Becks (1944)
Added on 9-Sep-16 | Last updated 9-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, Franklin Pierce

For politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. Politics must be the concern of every citizen who wants to see our national well-being increased and our international leadership strengthened. In that combined sense, politics is the noblest of professions. In the ranks of that kind of politics, every American should be enrolled.

Eisenhower - politics part-time profession - wist_info quote

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Republican Lincoln Day Dinners (28 Jan 1954)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased: "Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free men."

The speech was filmed for the Republican National Committee and distributed to state and local committees to be shown at the Lincoln Day dinners.
Added on 17-May-16 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Eisenhower, Dwight David

But freedom isn’t free. It shouldn’t be a bragging point that, “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” as if that makes someone cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn’t insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable.

Maher - involved in politics - wist_info quote

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden (2002)
Added on 16-Feb-16 | Last updated 1-Jun-16
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Maher, Bill

Every honest and God-fearing man is a mighty factor in the future of the Republic. Educated men, business men, professional men, should be the last to shirk the responsibilities attaching to citizenship in a free government. They should be practical and helpful — mingling with the people — not selfish and exclusive. It is not necessary that every man should enter into politics, or adopt it as a profession, or seek political preferment, but it is the duty of every man to give personal attention to his political duties. They are as sacred and binding as any we have to perform.

William McKinley (1843-1901) US President (1897-1901)
Speech, Woodstock, Connecticut (4 July 1891)
    (Source)
Added on 25-Aug-15 | Last updated 25-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by McKinley, William

For in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, “holds office”; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Profiles in Courage (1956; 1964 ed.)
Added on 10-Mar-14 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kennedy, John F.

If there is distrust out there — and there is — perhaps it is because there is so much partisan jockeying for advantage at the expense of public policy. At times it feels as if American politics consists largely of candidates without ideas, hiring consultants without convictions, to stage campaigns without content. Increasingly the result is elections without voters.

Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006) US President, (1974-77) [b. Leslie Lynch King, Jr.]
Speech, Profiles in Courage Award Acceptance, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library (2001)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Jan-14 | Last updated 2-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ford, Gerald R.

The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.

Robert M. Hutchins (1899-1977) American educator and educational philosopher
Great Books: The Foundation of a Liberal Education (1954)
    (Source)
Added on 13-Dec-13 | Last updated 15-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hutchins, Robert M.

This is a column for everyone who ever said, “I’m sorry, I’m just not interested in politics,” or, “There’s nothing I can do about it,” or, “Hey, they’re all crooks anyway.” … I’ve got one word for all of you: Katrina. … This, friends, is why we need to pay attention to government policies, not political personalities, and to know whereon we vote. It is about our lives.

Molly Ivins (1944-2007) American writer, political columnist [Mary Tyler Ivins]
The Progressive (Oct 2005)
Added on 15-Dec-11 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Ivins, Molly

To give the victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Speech fragment (c. 18 May 1858)
Added on 22-Apr-08 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lincoln, Abraham

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves — and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) US President (1933-1945)
Radio address (5 Oct 1944)
Added on 6-Dec-07 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Roosevelt, Franklin Delano

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Churchill - democracy - wist_info

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Speech, House of Commons (11 Nov 1947)

See Inge.
Added on 17-Aug-07 | Last updated 1-Dec-15
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Churchill, Winston

The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government is to live under the government of worse men.

Plato (c.428-347 BC) Greek philosopher
Republic, Book 1, 347c

In Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Eloquence," Society and Solitude (1870).

Alt. trans.:
  • "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
  • The Constitution Party (1952-68) used on their letterhead the variant, "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
  • "The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men."
  • "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber."
More discussion here.

In context (Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. 5 & 6 [tr. Shorey (1969)]):
[346e] "Then, Thrasymachus, is not this immediately apparent, that no art or office provides what is beneficial for itself -- but as we said long ago it provides and enjoins what is beneficial to its subject, considering the advantage of that, the weaker, and not the advantage the stronger? That was why, friend Thrasymachus, I was just now saying that no one of his own will chooses to hold rule and office and take other people's troubles in hand to straighten them out, but everybody expects pay for that, [347a] because he who is to exercise the art rightly never does what is best for himself or enjoins it when he gives commands according to the art, but what is best for the subject. That is the reason, it seems, why pay must be provided for those who are to consent to rule, either in form of money or honor or a penalty if they refuse." "What do you mean by that, Socrates?" said Glaucon. "The two wages I recognize, but the penalty you speak of and described as a form of wage I don't understand." "Then," said I, "you don't understand the wages of the best men [347b] for the sake of which the finest spirits hold office and rule when they consent to do so. Don't you know that to be covetous of honor and covetous of money is said to be and is a reproach?" "I do," he said. "Well, then," said I, "that is why the good are not willing to rule either for the sake of money or of honor. They do not wish to collect pay openly for their service of rule and be styled hirelings nor to take it by stealth from their office and be called thieves, nor yet for the sake of honor, [347c] for they are not covetous of honor. So there must be imposed some compulsion and penalty to constrain them to rule if they are to consent to hold office. That is perhaps why to seek office oneself and not await compulsion is thought disgraceful. But the chief penalty is to be governed by someone worse if a man will not himself hold office and rule. It is from fear of this, as it appears to me, that the better sort hold office when they do, and then they go to it not in the expectation of enjoyment nor as to a good thing, but as to a necessary evil and because they are unable to turn it over to better men than themselves [347d] or to their like. For we may venture to say that, if there should be a city of good men only, immunity from office-holding would be as eagerly contended for as office is now, and there it would be made plain that in very truth the true ruler does not naturally seek his own advantage but that of the ruled; so that every man of understanding would rather choose to be benefited by another than to be bothered with benefiting him. "
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | 7 comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Plato

Bad officials are elected by good people who do not vote.

George Jean Nathan (1892-1958) American editor and critic
(Attributed)

Quoted in Clifton Fadiman, ed., The American Treasury, 1455—1955 (1955), but not found in any of Nathan's writings.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Nathan, George Jean

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.

[Я считаю, что совершенно неважно, кто и как будет в партии голосовать; но вот что чрезвычайно важно, это – кто и как будет считать голоса.]

Josef Stalin (1879-1953) Georgian revolutionary and Soviet dictator
Comment (1923)

Alt. trans.: "I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how." Quoted in B. Bazhanov, The Memoirs of Stalin's Former Secretary (1992) [Борис Бажанов. Воспоминания бывшего секретаря Сталина], regarding elections to the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

The quotation is considered dubious by a number of sources.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Mar-21
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Stalin, Josef

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, John Quincy

CALVIN: When I grow up, I’m not going to read the newspaper and I’m not going to follow complex issues and I’m not going to vote. That way I can complain when the government doesn’t represent me. Then, when everything goes down the tubes, I can say the system doesn’t work and justify my further lack of participation.
HOBBES: An ingeniously self-fulfilling plan.
CALVIN: It’s a lot more fun to blame things than to fix them.

Bill Watterson (b. 1958) American cartoonist
Calvin & Hobbes (18 May 1992)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Watterson, Bill