Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Five Reasons for Apathetic Voters to Vote

Hey you. Person who is planning to skip voting today? DON'T. Let me tell you why.

5.) There is more than one question on the ballot. So you don't like either of the candidates for U.S. Senate, or you think the choices for U.S. Representative all suck and you're sick of their negative ads. So what? Your local ballot will most likely feature important local initiatives that could change your daily life in key ways. Tax legislation. Bond issues. Regulatory laws that may affect local businesses. There may also be good candidates running for city council or school board -- these might even be people you personally know from your neighborhood. If you don't vote today, you won't get to make your voice heard on local issues.

You don't have to answer every question on a ballot when you vote. If you hate your national level candidates, you can skip them. Cross them out. Vote for yourself as a write-in candidate, if it gives you a thrill. But don't let your distaste for a single political race keep you from casting your vote on other issues in your community.

4.) Seriously, it doesn't take that long. No, SERIOUSLY. It does NOT take that long. Your polling place is probably a five minute drive from your house. It might well be on your way home from work tonight. If you don't know where it is, you can find it in moments using Google or your state's Secretary of State website. I know you have heard horror stories of people standing in line for hours to vote. But those incidents are isolated. Long lines at the polls pretty much happen when there are problems with voting machines, problems with ballots, or extremely high turnout. In a midterm election, long lines are unlikely. In most elections I have voted in, I have been in and out in 15 minutes or less.

3.) Your vote actually does matter. In 2008, Al Franken won the race for U.S. Senate in Minnesota by 312 votes. If just 312 of his supporters had decided voting wasn't worth the trouble, he would have lost. If just 313 of his opponent's supporters had shown up, Norm Coleman would be Minnesota's Senator. Every vote counts.

2.) If you don't vote your complaints about bad government lose their force. You of course, can complain about your elected government officials even though you refused to participate in choosing them, but people who actually bother vote can also logically refuse to take your complaints seriously.

1.) Not everyone in the world has the right to vote. Good people fought and died to win you that right. For their sake, please: don't waste it.

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