A Note on Koach Hatzibbur


vote-2009By Simcha Sharfman

Many people may be unaware that you can go to the voting booth, not vote for any single person or issue, and just press the “VOTE” button. (You can also send in a blank absentee ballot.) When one does so, this registers that the individual has voted, although, obviously, no candidate or issue will receive any votes from this person.

Voting, no matter for whom or even for no one, is the true koach of any community. Politicians, and those who assist them, carefully review every single voting district to see to what extent that community feels obligated to vote, and what percent of them do so. Based on these concrete numbers, politicians decide how worthwhile it is to try and find out how they can please that community, or those voters, so that they can earn their vote in the future.

Of course, if a community is united behind one ideal or one organization and its needs, then that ideal or organization is best served when every person votes as per its wishes, and it would be best to unite behind it. That is the koach of that specific ideal or organization, not necessarily the koach of the tzibbur. The community still retains their koach, no matter what, simply by voting, either for someone else, or for no one at all!

When a politician sees that a huge segment, or ideally virtually all, of a community votes, he seriously wants to know how he can get those votes. If there is one organization he needs to talk to in order to find that out, he will talk to them. If there are twenty organizations he needs to talk to, he will see what he can do for all twenty organizations. This happens all the time. Politicians rarely write off actual, proven voters. In a case where there is no official organization for a politician to talk to, if he sees that an entire community votes, rest assured he will try his utmost to see if and how he can please them, so that he can earn their trust and their vote in the future.

The Gedolim in America have consistently stressed that voting in all American elections is our solemn duty. If you support a specific cause or organization, by all means vote as per their instructions. If you are unsure, unaware, confused, disenchanted, or otherwise alienated, by all means do not stay home! This destroys your interests more than anyone else’s. Simply go down and press the “VOTE” button, even for no one!

(In some precincts it seems you might need to vote on at least one something, in which case you can just press “Write in” on any one line of the ballot, type any one letter, and then vote. This essentially does the same thing as voting blank.)

That, and nothing else, is the true koach hatzibbur, showing that we all care enough to vote, and that the politicians should not discount us or write us off as worthless. They will try to ascertain what indeed we do want, or how they can please us. If they see massive turnout, no matter for whom or even for no one, they will sit up straight and take notice and see what they can do for that voting community.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. It is absolutely important to participate in the election process.

    Fulfillment of one’s civic duty is
    prescribed by the Torah.

    There is no excuse for apathy.
    By participating in the process we display
    our legitimate concern for religious freedom
    by asserting our right to have our voice heard.
    Dr. Arnold Berger