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02 November 2010 @ 08:32 pm
Voting On My Mind  
I'm always a little shocked by people who don't vote. Where I was raised, no one I knew considered it an option. You just voted. I mean, you love your country, right?

I hear so many reasons for not voting and in my opinion they are only different flavors of bullshit. Here are just a few.

1. Both parties suck.

Maybe--but what a great opportunity to show support for younger, hipper parties and give them a shot. If everyone who doesn't vote now voted for a third party--any third party, you all might give the reigning two something to worry about.

2. There are no good candidates.

OK, but did you know that there is a write in option? Who do you think ought to be president, governor, senator or representative? Plus there are propositions to consider.

3. The language of the propositions is too confusing and so I can't understand how to vote on them.

I sympathize with you there. They have to be written in legal language, unfortunately, or risk being challenged and misinterpreted in court.

One way to approach this is to look at who is funding the ads for and against. Texas oil companies on an energy bill? You should probably vote against whatever position they take. :)

But you can vote for people and skip propositions or vote no on all of them. I've read that this is the safest position if you don't know or aren't sure about them. You do not have to vote for every single thing on the ballot for your vote to count.

4. Not voting is my protest against the system.

OK, I get it, but the system? Doesn't care. They only care about the votes cast. If you want to send the system, meaning those in power right now, a message, vote them out. They shudder at every vote that tells them people are unhappy with their performance--just like you would if all of your customers and co-workers got to vote against you.

5. I don't have time to go to the polls and wait in line. I have to work.

They have these cool things called absentee ballots. In our state you can sign up to permanently have them sent to you for each election! Vote in the comfort of your home.

6. I've never voted and I don't know how. It's embarrassing to ask for help.

There are videos online and I found quite a few just by typing "how to fill out a ballot" in Google. Plus with an absentee ballot there is a page of instructions to help you. Ballots are different everywhere or I'd write out a guide right here.

7. I believe in the law of karma and I'm afraid that if I vote for something or someone I'll be partly responsible for suffering caused by that vote.

Alternately, if you could have prevented someone really awful from taking office and didn't, wouldn't there be karma for that?

Again, it's safe to vote against propositions and you can write in the name of saints, gurus, celebrities or dead people if you are afraid to vote for actual candidates. But get in the habit of voting and you might find one day that there is someone worth voting for, someone who is so clearly better than their opponent that you feel good about voting for them.

8. I don't want to do the research needed. I'm just lazy--is that a crime?

It isn't a crime but don't expect others to respect you the morning after an election.

Look, as citizens we get so much from our government and our part is to be informed voters. It doesn't take many hours of research to have a good idea of how you want to vote. Even if you show up every time and write in "Martin Luther King" for every open position, you are voting. Show up and do your part; that's all I ask.
Phatchick: Whup A$$ladybrigid on November 3rd, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
And as a woman I have an additional reason to vote. A lot of women (and more than a few men) went to a lot of trouble and suffered a great deal to give me the right to enter a polling place. I will not insult their sacrifices by refusing to take advantage of that right.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on November 3rd, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)

and nice icon ;)
carmy_wcarmy_w on November 3rd, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
*standing ovation*

I get really disgusted with my husband, who is registered, but won't vote, because he doesn't want to end up on jury duty. Now, this is a real concern; I just got picked for the 4th time in 8 years to be in the six month pool. On the other hand, I have yet to have to take off for it; each time my name got picked, the case got settled.
Tapatitapati on November 4th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)
My understanding is they also pull from DMV records. Doesn't he get called up ever?

Besides, being registered would get you on the list anyway--so VOTE!
carmy_wcarmy_w on November 4th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
He's had it happen once, to my four. And I know, he needs to anyway.
But, I've found the best way to get him to dig in his heels is to try to talk him into it. His daughter came by her contrariness honestly!
jeebedee on November 4th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Well written as always. :)

I can't imagine not voting. I can think of times when it was illegal for women or blacks to even cast a vote.
jeebedee on November 4th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
BTW, it's Jeanne. :)
litlebananalitlebanana on September 29th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
California makes it easy to do an absentee ballot, but other states don't. Where I live, the only reasons you are allowed to have an absentee ballot is disability, religious reasons, or being in jail. And I really don't have any time in my day to go wait in a line to vote.
Tapatitapati on September 30th, 2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
Under some conditions your employer may be required to allow time (which may be off-peak w/quick lines) before you start work, up to a 2 hour leave of absence if requested before election day. I should think commute and day care issues qualify.

Sounds like early voting and/or absentee voting for all is something to push for there! If it's difficult for a politically aware person like yourself, I imagine it's quite an impediment to those who are new to the idea of voting.
Tapatitapati on September 30th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
It's a shame because don't you have a close Senate race there? We need every Senate seat we can get!