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In my opinion, the current downvote system has two big problems.

Firstly, you can't remove a downvote without adding an upvote, effectively adding two to the post's score. Perhaps I think that my downvote was unwarranted but I'm certainly not considering an upvote.

The second problem is that on a recent post, I couldn't change my downvote until the user edits. Why is this? Perhaps a comment, for example, informed me of why this post didn't deserve a downvote. This doesn't mean that the answer should have to be changed to merit changing my downvote.

Ultimately, I feel like my votes are my votes, and the site has no right to tell me how and when I can and cannot apply or change my votes, provided that I'm not being abusive with them, but I feel that it's currently restricting me from expressing my opinion, especially in the scenario where my initial opinion is changed.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can remove a down-vote without adding an up-vote - just click the down-vote arrow again. The tooltip even tells you this:

This question is unclear or not useful (click again to undo).

You can also undo an up-vote in the same way.

The locking of votes after a short period is to prevent gaming the system - e.g. down-voting all competing answers and then undoing them all when your answer has risen higher.

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Apparently you're right. I guess I never thought to look at the downvote button when the upvote button is the logical counter to the downvote. – DeadMG Oct 23 '10 at 14:34

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