80,000 Hours Podcast

How much does a vote matter? (Article)

80,000 Hours Podcast

Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles.

In this one — How much does a vote matter? — I investigate the two key things that determine the impact of your vote:

• The chances of your vote changing an election’s outcome
• How much better some candidates are for the world as a whole, compared to others

I then discuss what I think are the best arguments against voting in important elections:

• If an election is competitive, that means other people disagree about which option is better, and you’re at some risk of voting for the worse candidate by mistake.
• While voting itself doesn’t take long, knowing enough to accurately pick which candidate is better for the world actually does take substantial effort — effort that could be better allocated elsewhere.

Finally, I look into the impact of donating to campaigns or working to ‘get out the vote’, which can be effective ways to generate additional votes for your preferred candidate.

If you want to check out the links, footnotes and figures in today’s article, you can find those here.

Get this episode by subscribing: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app. Or read the linked transcript.

Producer: Keiran Harris.

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