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Your vote does matter!

November 3, 2014

OK, admit it. No matter how much of a political junkie you are, even a small break in the  nonstop campaigning isn’t going to break your heart. For most of us it’s something we endure at best, and tune out completely at worst.

At the end of all this pontificating, bombast and outright lies you are supposed to go and vote.

Problem is, many of us don’t. The average eligible voter turnout for midterms is around 42%. Even in national presidential elections only about 6 in 10 of us haul our butts off the couch and vote.

Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for occasionally not voting. Even countries like Australia that have mandatory voting laws only see about 90%  turnout. Life happens…there’s a bad storm that closes the roads, or you have an accident, or you are too sick to get out of bed.

Mostly though, it’s because we just can’t be bothered.

The most common excuse is that one person’s vote doesn’t matter.

If you are looking for an excuse to stay home, there are always the tried and true excuses.

“It doesn’t matter who you vote for because they just lie to get your vote and then do something else when they get elected.” “My state’s mostly Republican (or mostly Democrat) so that party is going to win (or lose) no matter if I vote or not.” and the classic “I don’t like any of the candidates”.

The national media tends to make it easy to buy into these excuses.

That’s still no excuse for not voting.

There is no such thing as a purely national election. There are always local issues on the ballot.

What about your local school board? Do you care about it? Or your city councilman? Do you care about your city or town? Those people aren’t thousands of miles away, and you can hold them accountable if they fail to perform. Those races are often decided by just a handful of votes.

Immigrants tend to take voting more seriously than some of the rest of us.

When asked why she was voting, one naturalized citizen said, “Because in America, I can vote for anybody I want to.”

Your decision to vote shouldn’t be because one party got America confused with a dictatorship and sent out a letter saying they are watching you, implying some dire Mafia-like consequence if you don’t vote.

It should be because you want the politicians to know you are watching them, not the other way around.

You don’t have to vote. Still, it would be a shame if laziness and complacency, i.e. voter apathy, became the legacy of the American voter.

It does no good whatsoever to vote in some poll that asks if America’s going to hell in a handbasket. It only matters if you actually vote in an election.

Make an effort to get off your couch and vote. It’s an inalienable American right that many countries don’t have, and your vote does matter.

From → op-ed

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