What, Not Vote?

I was shopping at a big box home supply store last week and struck up a conversation with a sales clerk.  We were talking about the political season and he told me that he hadn’t voted in about 10 years.  He said that he used to really care about elections, but was furious and turned off one year when some politicians approved salary increases for themselves at a time when he was really struggling financially.

I told him I understood his frustration, but that he seemed like a really smart guy and by not voting he was letting other people make choices for him.  “Even if you’re not crazy about any of the candidates,  you can still pick who you consider to be the lesser of the evils,” I said.  (He wasn’t convinced, so we went on with the business of finding a heavy-duty garbage can.)

I know there are some high-profile races out there where neither major party candidate is perceived to be clearly better than his or her opponent.  But not voting–are you kidding?  In spite of all the coverage and reading I’ve done about the candidates, my vote counts the same as everybody else’s.  So does yours.  And no way would I sit out and let others make choices for me!  I hope you feel the same.

Besides, don’t you find the voting process itself to be a kick?  I do.  Part of it is the ceremony.  You line up with your neighbors, you check in, you get a ballot and spend time filling it out.  Then you turn it in.  It can make you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.  And how often does that happen these days?

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  • Krys

    I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a man in college. He was a worker in the library cafeteria, and asked me if I was voting in the upcoming election. I said that I was, and that it was my first one. And he told me to never take it for granted, that in the country he came from, he was not allowed to vote. Twenty years later, that point stays with me every Election Day.