Friday, October 24, 2008

A Casted Vote

I voted today. Since I am new to the area I needed to register and thought it better to register early since a 95% voter turnout is expected in this area. While I will probably be here on November 4 I decided not to take any chances and wanted to cast my vote so it can be counted. My daughter had a dream that for some reason she didn't vote and when she awoke Nov. 5 Obama had lost by 1 point! Not wanting such a dream to come true for us, I am happy to have done my civic duty.

It is incomprehensible to me that some people choose not to vote. Admittedly there have been times I've voted against a candidate rather than for one but still made the effort to vote. Some have said they don't like either candidate or don't know for whom to vote. Since indecisiveness is not one of my afflictions, I do not understand these sentiments. This campaign, in particular, has provided a plethora of information so a citizen would have to be making an effort NOT to access information.

Our right to vote is still historically new, and some of us have had the right to vote for even less time. To not vote is spitting on the very basics of this country and the basic tenets of the US. People in assorted countries in the world risk their lives to vote yet in this country citizens blithly ignore their personal involvemnt in this special process.

A citizen can complain about the bureaucratic mess that is Washington, D.C., may grumble that their vote won't matter, gripe that no one is concerned about the "little guy." If you don't vote, if you aren't involved in holding representatives accountable, if you don't stay informed then you, as a nonparticipant in the system, is just as responsible for this country's mess. By voting we have a say in who represents us in Washington and we have the right and responsibility to tell those elected officials how we feel about issues.

I have little patience for lazy citizens, and I still believe citizens can make a difference. In fact, I often relish being a thorn in an elected official's side. (Maybe if more people thought of it as a sport or we had betting on a fantasy congressional team more people would be interested.) Don't bother saying you don't have time for writing letters, emails or making phone calls --- we're all busy and those contacts don't take that long to make. Look at it this way. By abdicating responsibility for keeping informed on issues and not communicating your thoughts to your representatives then why shouldn't they abdicate their responsiblity to you as a constituent.

1 comment:

Cheryle said...

In Oregon, we have had vote by mail since 2000. That means that about 3 weeks before the election every registered voter houshold gets a voters' pamphlet. This has all the candidates and ballot measures, along with pros and cons (paid for by the people supporting them). Then, two weeks before the election, every registered voter gets their ballot in the mail. If a tax measure is involved, it says so, in red, on the envelope. All a voter has to do is fill in the little bubbles, put the ballot in the "secrecy envelope." put that in a pre-addressed envelope, sign that envelope, and put a stamp on it to mail it, or take it to a local library and drop it off. How easy could it be?

We do have good turnout in presidential elections (it's expected to be about 87% this year), but why isn't it higher still? And why do off-year elections hover at about 35-40%?

I cherish my right to vote!