Why Voting Matters Part II
This is an election year, a mid-term election year. This means that in November, people across the country will be voting not only in local elections, but also in gubernatorial and congressional races as well. There are some things we can do now to ensure that we as a people do not have avoidable drama at the poles on 7 November 2006.
The first thing we need to do is confirm that those of us that are old enough to vote are registered to do so. A good place to start is by visiting publius.org. Enter your name here, and if notating comes up, then you can click here to locate your local clerk, who you need to contact in order to register to vote.
Why are we talking about registering to vote? We’re talking about this because we need to get back to the basics and ensure that our fundamentals are solid. In my opinion, voting is one of the most important civic actions we can do. I tend to think that people agree with me that it’s important, since those in power work very hard to strip the right to vote away from people every day and night.
Here’s a secret: it is easier to take something away from an ignorant person than it is to take that same thing away from one who is informed/armed/prepared. Applying this concept to voting, it is much more difficult to take voting rights away from a person who never voted, stopped voting, or doesn’t value voting than it is to strip that right from one who understands its significance. We’ve talked about why voting matters before, and this point cannot be repeated enough.
Today, we take a slightly different approach to trying to quantify why voting matters, more specifically, why it’s important for everybody everywhere to vote. The Washington Post yesterday had a story that spoke to the effects of voter distribution in national elections.
This is important because it makes plain the fact there is power in collective action. One person doing one thing alone may or may not result in wide-reaching change. However, many people acting together with united purpose and determination have a better chance of effecting changes that impact society as a whole. We talked about working together just recently, and we can’t stress enough how important that is. One person may feel that their vote “doesn’t matter,” and therefore not vote. That, in isolation, will not cause the death of humanity. However, if that attitude were to catch on more broadly, which it has in large part, then you get people who are left with a government that they did not vote for and by definition does not represent them. Most people do not want that outcome, but instead of addressing the apathy at its source, we only react to it after the problem is obvious. If we concentrate on the basics, on helping people understand why they should care, maybe we wouldn’t have a representative democracy that did not represent so many people.
For those of you who vote, can you tell us why?
For those of you who do not vote, can you tell us why not?