The debate comes up every election year. Does voting matter? Looking at the margin, probably not. Especially if you live in Utah. Others suggest that there is more to voting than the motive of swaying the decision. Some, or most, see it as a moral obligation-their patriotic duty. Personally, this has to be the reason for voters in Utah where the majority goes to Republicans and where the electoral votes really don't matter. Yet, maybe in states such as Ohio, it does matter even at the margin. The coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team required all 105 of his players to vote in yesterday's election.
One writer at "Marginal Revolution" gives some suggestion on how instead of voting, one might better serve their fellow man.
I once had an Econ professor who lived by this principle and refused to vote. He argued that his vote would not matter. I don't know if he was Republican or Democrat, but he seemed to be at peace with himself knowing that his vote didn't matter.
Of course, proving this would not change the way people act. I agree that the moral and emotional elements are far too influential to stop people from voting. The paranoid public who do vote would always be asking themselves, "What if I don't vote? What if nobody votes?". Maybe next election I will heed the suggestions of certain bloggers who said working in a soup kitchen or even driving people to the polls.