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I try to use down-votes judiciously, and only do so when I truly feel that the -1 is deserved.

Still, at least a couple of times I have revisited the question/answer the following day, and found replies that made me regret my down-vote. For instance, I may read a response that points out subtleties of the original post that I hadn’t considered.

In cases like this, where I no longer feel that the down-vote is warranted, I’d like to be able to uncast the vote. But, of course, since up/down votes are locked-in after an hour or so, I’m prevented from doing so unless the original post is edited.

I can see the logic in locking up-votes, which might prevent retaliations from disgruntled users, but I fail to see how disallowing down-vote retractions is beneficial.

Is there a valid rationale for locking down-votes?

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    \$\begingroup\$ In most cases you should be able to improve the post by editing, thus unlocking voting. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Jun 29 '18 at 7:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PlasmaHH Great point. There’s always an i that needs capitalizing. \$\endgroup\$ – Blair Fonville Jun 29 '18 at 7:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ That happened to me as well just recently lol and sometimes everyone else is upvoting the question and the mods probably think you're a massive jerk. I think this might be an issue for the entire SE website. \$\endgroup\$ – KingDuken Jun 29 '18 at 16:02
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Still, at least a couple of times I have revisited the question/answer the following day, and found replies that made me regret my down-vote. For instance, I may read a response that points out subtleties of the original post that I hadn’t considered.

In this case you should actually edit the post to make it more clear and include the subtleties you missed, especially if you got the new information from the comment section. After the edit, you can also flag the comments as no longer needed - you have taken care of the issues.

You are probably not the only one who misunderstood the original post, so the edit will lead to two good things:

  1. The post is now a better post for everyone.
  2. You can remove your downvote.
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Both down- and up-votes are locked after 5 minutes, primarily to prevent "tactical downvoting" on answers: locking prevents someone who answered from downvoting other answers and then later removing those downvotes to get the rep back.

If you find yourself regretting your votes more often than very rarely, you can just hold off on voting until you think about it, read comments, and so on.

Relevant meta.SE post:

Why do votes get locked?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I can see that. That does make sense. And no, I don’t find myself having this problem routinely. I only recall one instance, but maybe there have been a couple. \$\endgroup\$ – Blair Fonville Jun 29 '18 at 5:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ As I read the question, the OP regrets down-votes after re-reading the answers the day after, when new answers have been added. I don't think it's practical to refrain from voting until everyone has a chance to answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Jul 9 '18 at 7:51

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