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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

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Can Someone Refuse to Vote for Reasons of Conscience?

Question:

Can someone refuse to vote in an election for reasons of conscience?

Answer:

It depends on whether or not a person’s conscience has been rightly formed. If someone is refusing to vote because he has studied the candidates on the ballot for a particular office and cannot in conscience vote for any of them, that is his prerogative. He should still vote for other offices where there is an acceptable candidate and on the various measures and propositions presented for a vote. But if someone is refusing to vote at all because he doesn’t believe he should vote in general, then his conscience may be improperly formed. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country” (CCC 2240).

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