Tom Knecht, Westmont associate professor of political science, examines the U.S. election process and voter’s misguided approach to the system in “You’re Voting Wrong! How Americans Get Elections Wrong and Why It Matters,” on Monday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at Kerrwood Hall in Hieronymus Lounge.
The Paul C. Wilt Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Lecture is free and open the public. Jesse Covington, assistant professor of political science, and Wayne Iba, professor of computer science, will respond to Knecht’s talk.
As the 2012 presidential election approaches, Americans’ confidence in government has never been lower, but Knecht says much of the blame is attributable to voters, not politicians. “To view elections as a selection process means you believe a single vote might affect the outcome of an election,” Knecht says. “It won’t. In fact, you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning on your way to the polling booth than your vote mattering in an instrumental sense. Instead of instrumental voting, I argue that voting only makes sense as an expressive act.
“I hope my talk will lead people to reevaluate their philosophy of voting and elections.”
Knecht, a Stanford graduate who earned a master’s degree and doctorate at UC Santa Barbara, has written a book, “Paying Attention to Foreign Affairs: How Public Opinion Affects Presidential Decision Making.” He has also published research papers, “A Pragmatic Response to an Unexpected Constraint: Problem Representation in a Complex Humanitarian Emergency” to Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 5 and “Humanizing the Homeless: Does Contact Erode Stereotypes,” for the journal Social Science Research. An article, “Engaging the Reluctant? Service Learning, Interpersonal Contact and Attitudes Toward the Homeless,” was recently published in the journal, PS: Political Science & Politics.