Voting is important. It's a right and it's a responsibility. The decisions you make shape the future. It can even affect the fantasy playoffs.

Sure, voting in the real world is important, too. Please vote in your state-wide elections. But I'm talking about fantasy football, and leagues that let members vote on trades. With your league's deadline fast approaching, your vote can affect your title hopes, even if you're not involved in the trade.

Because here's the thing: If your league votes on trades, you are involved. You can affect whether a trade goes through or not. Regardless of whether you think teams should vote on trades, it's an important responsibility.

Actually, let's talk about whether teams should be allowed to vote on trades: They shouldn't. Partisanship is just fine when electing someone to Congress. But in a fantasy league, every voter is biased toward their team, and against anything that hurts it. If a trade helps a rival, even if it's fair, you're asking that owner to look past their personal well-being and judge a trade on its merits. And that puts owners in awkward positions.

If you're battling another team for a division title (and a playoff spot), and they swing a good trade that helps them, you should approve it, right? But that vote could very well sink your own playoff hopes. You're the team's owner, CEO, head coach and Director of Player Personnel. You sunk a lot of time into the team's success. You spend months looking for any advantage. And now that you have a chance to derail their playoff hopes (and help your own), you're supposed to sit back and let them get better?

A league-wide vote doesn't reflect whether a trade is valid. It just reflects whether owners are okay with a trade happening. Trades should be rejected only in cases of collusion, or an imbalance so egregious that it's clear the other owner doesn't understand the game (in which case they shouldn't be in the league at all). Otherwise, a trade agreed upon by two owners should stand, and the commissioner should only step in when absolutely necessary. There's no reason for owners to decide whether an opponent's trade should stand.

Okay, rant over. If your league does allow voting on trades, how should you proceed? I think you have to do what you believe is right. If a trade doesn't really affect you, the answer is easy. Allow all trades unless it's overwhelmingly clear that something is wrong.

If it does affect you, and you feel the principle of fair trading is most important, you vote to approve and let it happen. The trade might not even help your rival, or turn out to be a disaster for them. The trade they wanted might hurt their team, and indirectly help yours.

Then again, if you vote against a trade you think hurts you, I can't totally fault you, either. Your league gave you power, and your job is to help your team win. Exercising that power to further your team's fortunes is obviously legal. It might even be considered ethical, considering that you're using above-board power, and a vote that helps your team is exactly what an involved owner should do.

Of course, the flip side is that you're making your league a difficult place to trade, and less fun as a result. If going through all the trouble of negotiating, haggling and arguing your way into a deal only ends up in a rejection for no reason, what's the point? The long, involved negotiations is part of what makes the game fun. It almost makes you feel like a real GM, working to improve your team while convincing your opponent that you're somehow looking out for them as well. Friends argue over trades, and strangers can become friends over them. Those negotiations (and their results) can produce fun stories that will be told years after the season ends. Is it ethical to torpedo all of that over a perceived advantage for a few games in one season?

Maybe; maybe not. You have to decide how to use your vote. But just like a real election, the only losing move is not to vote at all. If you ignore a vote, the trade might go through anyway, since many leagues require a specific number of vetoes. But you're forfeiting a chance to speak for your team. You can approve a trade, and show that you're paying attention and following what's happening, regardless of your record. Or you could reject a trade, and show that owners will wield power if you give it to them. Both decisions say something to the other owners, and could cause a new round of voting in the off-season to alter how trades are handled.

If you think it's okay to vote against legal trades, you should vote to help your team. If you believe good trades should go through, you should stand on your principles and let your team be heard. Either way, you're using the power your league gave you. Ignoring it is another example of owner apathy that makes leagues less fun. Vote for your government representatives and vote on fantasy football trades. No matter what side you take, it's better than not taking a side at all.

Does your league allow owners to vote on trades? Do you like that rule? How do most owners vote? How do you vote? Share your thoughts below.