Why is it okay for adults to brag about having voted?

Voting is supposed to be simple enough for roughly 130 million Americans to do. Yet my Facebook feed is packed with people bragging about having accomplished this act, almost always in non-swing states in which their votes are surely irrelevant. It seems like something that preschoolers would be celebrated for, i.e., accomplishing a task that is straightforward for most adults. (See also Are women the new children?)


We voted! Less than an hour in line on a rainy afternoon in NYC – first time for [son] who turned 18 in August! #proudpapa #voteNYC #ByeDon

I voted! My blood pressure went through the roof when seeing all these senior women congregated at the Republican booth! How can any respectable woman or anyone with an iota of moral standing vote for this criminal is beyond me

i VOTED !!! My ballot is now in the drop box at City Hall! [From guy who changed his profile to a Biden-Harris seal of some sort]

Fantastic job! [response to the above]

It was such a stress relief, I took a nap afterwards! [additional response to the above from one of his friends, another purported “man”]

I voted today! Had to show ID. Not a problem. My favorite presidential votes were for my wonderful friend and mentor Ralph Nader in 1996 and 2000.

Should I brag every time that we are able to finish something that was purchased at Costco, a far greater challenge than voting? “We used the last dishwasher pac!” or “We ate the last orange from the box!” or “Mindy the Crippler finished her last green dental chew!”

Maybe you’ll say that the voting braggarts are engaged in a sophisticated program to encourage others to vote (for Democrats!). If so, why didn’t they do that in the offline pre-Facebook world? I don’t remember anyone coming into work and shouting out, to the slaves within the cubicles of the coding plantation, “I voted!”

13 thoughts on “Why is it okay for adults to brag about having voted?

  1. Simply more virtue signalling. Probably in the old days, we weren’t as “virtuous”. I do like the person that found voting so orgasmic they had to nap afterwards!

  2. I’ve been hearing personal stories about the difficult task of navigating our new-for-this-year vote-by-mail system with daily updates that “my vote has been counted” for the past few weeks on the work slack channel. If we were in the office, the Tuesday-morning stand-up meeting in a normal election year would feature stories of (generally, a lack of ) lines at the polls from those proudly sporting “I voted” stickers.

    And, for the past month or so, all-staff email has featured numerous voting related messages – always implying that there is a correct choice, but careful to never mention candidates or parties lest the non-profit status be put at risk. Committees are convened to discuss how to provide emotional support people will need should the nation make the wrong choice, and, should the chips fall the correct way, the (very real) possibility that right-wing extremist groups may set out on a campaign of retaliation against left-leaning organizations.

    • Me too Amos! The message has been something like: as a non-profit we can’t advise you how to vote, but: it is DespErately iMpOrtant that in this CurRent climAte That you make sure to vote.

  3. You appear to have forgotten that facebook is fundamentally designed for “bragging” about everyday things. People didn’t used to go around telling others that they successfully cooked dinner, waited out their kid’s temper tantrum, or went to a friend’s wedding.


  4. I spent every day for the past three years telling my servants every time I wiped my butt. That inspired someone in Silicon Valley to invent a smart toilet to automatically alert people! The new version is an IoT bidet that can automatically detect gender from among 150 choices and automatically spray soothing liquids in the proper directions. Things are getting better with technology all the time.


  5. America is a tribal society. Tribe members always find solace in telling each other when they practice their rituals, traditions and customs, no matter how mundane they are.

    “The first was the proverbial big picture: using wide angle lenses allowed me to take in ceremonial dances, promenades, and the individual within a landscape. The second was the macro view: getting up dose and personal to detail ear-piercing, tattoos, and scarification. The third was the mid-range telephoto, decidedly the most useful and pleasing perspective.”


    • It’s like: Madonna takes a bath, and the world knows she’s clean. She is wearing lipstick and jewelry in the bathtub, so she’s a little ahead of herself.
      Then she types something on a typewriter, lies down on a bed and takes her temperature, and dances around. This is entertainment!

  6. From a rational-choice point of view, voting is a collective action problem. As an individual, if you take the time to go vote, what do you get out of it? Yet if few people voted, democracy (changing who’s in power by “counting heads instead of breaking heads”) wouldn’t work.

    The kind of behavior you’re talking about – being able to say that you’ve done your duty by voting – provides a social incentive for people to vote. Before social media, stickers saying “I Voted” were common.

    • I agree with John Bolton not just in principle but in practice!

      “I think voting is the most important act of civic participation that we have, and even in the time of the coronavirus I think, I’m worried that we’re actually moving in the opposite direction. I don’t think, I’m not a big proponent of voting by mail, not because of fraud, I just think there’s a civic character involved on election day, getting out of bed, going to your voting place, standing in line and going up to the machine and voting, putting your ballot, whether it’s electronic or putting your paper ballot in the box, getting a little sticker that says: “I Voted.” … We didn’t get Democracy easily in this country, and people ought to go through the ritual of voting, and stand in that line with their fellow citizens, and think about it when they vote. I may be a minority of one in this country on that perspective, but that’s how I see it.”

      25:20 here:

      Maybe I’m a fool! I’ll be masked up, hand sanitized and socially distanced, and that’s what I’m going to do. Bolton doesn’t want to really go into the potential for malfeasance in voting by mail because it’s not his area of expertise, but as for myself, I’ll take his advice.

    • And by the way, I’m glad to see that in Philg’s examples there are people who understand their civic duty to vote in the same way. If the #Science works they shouldn’t be terribly worried about that aspect of it, and even if they didn’t vote how I will, that’s OK. The self-congratulatory aspect of it I guess we can chalk up to their sense of relief in having done something they think is important – and it is. So go and vote, unless you really can’t!

  7. Voting is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods (as Sage of Baltimore once said, thus exposing this inane numerological ritual for what it actually is).

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