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It Does Matter

2011-11-01 at 07:04 pm BlogBlog  RSSRSS  Subscribe

My Dad always used to tell me that as a citizen of the United States it was not my privilege but my duty to vote. He drilled that into me from the time I was eight years old and he took me with him to vote that year. I went just for the ride and maybe a soda or ice cream, but he took it as an opportunity for a civics lesson. From then on whenever it was an election year, my Dad would ask my opinion on the issues and the candidates running. Before I made it to high school, the conversations were never serious, because my opinions were based on their hair or whether they looked mean. After I hit high school, I sometimes got the feeling that my Dad thought he had created a monster.

We had some very loud discussions, my Dad and I, but it never meant anything to our relationship because it was just politics after all. It was just his voting opinion to my non-voting opinion. Did our conversations ever influence his choices in the voting booth? Possibly, but our conversations did influence me. On the afternoon of my 18th birthday I registered to vote. It was 1976 and I haven’t missed a general election yet. Knock on Formica.

I’m sure I have been spoiled when it comes to the process of voting in the Great State of Nevada. We have various locations for registration, ballot booklets that are sent to all registered voters at least a month before polls open, early voting at convenient locations, and electronic touch screen voting booths with paper ballot backup. The act of voting is almost the easiest thing to do in Nevada. Although it is more convenient in Nevada than ever, we still have citizens that don’t vote. I often wonder why that is.

I know that in other States laws are being enacted that will and/or do make it more difficult to register and vote, which actions in my opinion are lower than despicable. Even in those States, though, there are very few excuses in my view that are acceptable for not voting. We will jump through several inconvenient hoops, find remedies to whatever issues need resolving, and in some cases bend over backwards to obtain mundane and rather unimportant things by comparison in our lives. So why do we fail to perform whatever effort is necessary to register for the right and duty to cast our votes? Why do we give up so easily on one of the most important things we can do in a free society no matter what the obstacles may be?

Some will say they feel that their vote is not that important. That votes by others will cancel theirs out. That it will have no real effect on what happens or the ultimate outcome of a political race. In the Presidential elections, because of the Electoral College, that argument may have some merit. Not a lot, but some. At the local and State levels, however, those arguments can’t hold water. At those levels of the political field, every vote counts for something. At the local level some elections do come down to just one vote.

As with economics, good (or even sufficient) governing for the people, by the people, doesn’t necessarily trickle down from the top. It actually starts in your neighborhood, City, County, and State. Most Presidential candidates don’t just walk in off the street. They are usually the governors, senators, or legislators that have been elected by the people at the State level. Most governors, senators, and legislators started out as mayors or councilmen. The vote you cast (or not) today may not effect an immediate change or even one that you may see in your lifetime, but it could be setting the stage for political changes many years in the future.

Your vote is important and does make a difference. How many bad politicians, or even ones that most of us just completely disagree with, have been elected with a voter turnout of 60% or less? What may have happened had there been a turnout of 80%, 90%, or the historically unattainable 100%? Would our Country be in a completely different position today, had the other 40% of our citizens actually voted 20 or 30 years ago? What will our Country be like 30 years from now when 60% (give or take) of the population is making the governing choices for 100% of us today?

I don’t care if you’re a conservative or a liberal, if you lean left or right, or if you’re totally independent. If you’re eligible and not registered to vote, get off your butt, get to where you have to go, do what you have to do, and register to have your say. Take some of your unregistered friends with you and make it a party. Then come Election Day, have another party if you need to and go vote. Please. It is important. It does matter.

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19 Responses to “It Does Matter”

  1. Totally agree SPK.

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    I had a feeling you would. Wish more people did. :love:

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  2. Good for you. And good for your Dad. It matters a lot. Many countries do not require voter registration. You can vote because you are a citizen. They have higher voter turn out rates than we do…

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    I agree with having voter registration, but it should be easy to obtain. I know here they were having voter registration fairs at various shopping malls the last couple of election years. Even with that, people still don’t register and don’t vote. Terribly sad.

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  3. Yes it matters. There have been so many close races.

    Yes it matters and it matters locally.

    And everything is politics.

    Politics is how we choose to spend the collective treasury.

    Do we repair that bridge or do we give our new city manager a 3 Million dollar annual salary.

    Roads and bridges are politics. Garbage pick up is politics.

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    It really does matter and I wish more people understood how much it matters. Last election one of the City governments in our area had a massively contested election for a city councilman. The outcome literally did come down to one vote. The loser and his supporters were so pissed that they filed a court action to have that vote declared void in order to force a do-over. They ultimately didn’t succeed and I think that City may be better off in the long run for it.

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  4. Voting is mandatory here. Voting is a right, but also considered a civil duty. Mind you, we still wind up with plonkers in the top job. I’ve often wondered how the American political landscape would change if you guys had mandatory voting, though I know many of you would find the concept an anathema. It does mean extreme views are less likely to get a look in. Voting day here has a rather carnivalesque quality….it always happens on a Saturday. I choose my polling place based on who does the best sausage sizzle and cake stall, (the local primary school does a ripper sausage sizzle, has bratwurst and gourmet sausages and they bring them to you whilst standing in line). Election day always smells like BBQ.

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    Snugglepot Reply:

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    Voting should be mandatory here, but we Americans don’t really care for too many things that are mandatory.

    In some of our voting precincts (we don’t have a choice except during early voting time) some groups do show up with food and drink, but not enough to draw more people in. Maybe if they had a big voting festival with carnival rides and petting zoos, more of our citizens would want to vote. Even if for no other reason than to get a free ride on the Zipper or Ferris Wheel. :lol:

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    Mango_Chutney Reply:

    And why do we not vote on weekends when it is more convenient for many? Tuesday is no longer market day… :wink:

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    In Nevada we believed the same way, but even weekends can be inconvenient for many working in a 24 hour town. So our Elections Department decided to start early voting.

    During early voting, they set up voting booths at six to ten different locations throughout town. They’re in grocery stores, shopping malls, libraries and recreation centers for a set period of days and at the end of that period they move over to another location for another set of days. Voting booths are also set up in our County Government Center during the entire period of early voting. It works very well and about half to three-quarters of our turnout actually casts their votes during early voting.

    I think (although biased) Nevada is awesome for doing this and more States should look into following our example.

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  5. Right on!

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    Thanks, Moose.

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  6. Brilliant and wise words….enjoyed reading!

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    Thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully, it may inspire or shame (I don’t care which) more people to take part in the process that far too many dismiss as a bother.

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  7. Sage advice SPK, I hope at least one person takes it.

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    Thanks Maks. If one person takes it that will be great. If everybody takes it things might actually happen.

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  8. I totally agree, and I’d take it steps further. I want a Direct Voting system. With a Direct Voting System our Representatives write Bills, but the entire adult population does the voting. This gives citizens complete control of government. Of course it does require that the Polls be open all the time, and people would have to vote on new stuff every week.

    I know, that’s requiring that everybody take a lot more responsibility for OUR government. On the other hand, not doing, that is the major cause of every problem we have with government, since when you don’t take responsibility, you can be sure that somebody else, (like Major Corporations) will be all to glad to take it for you…

    http://www.jamesclairlewis.com/pages/politics/voting.html

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    Some People's Kids
    Some_Peoples_Kids Reply:

    While I like your idea of Direct Voting, if I understand it correctly I can see many issues with it. All you have to do is look at the historical rivalry between Southern Nevada and Northern Nevada when it comes to political issues. Southern Nevada has more citizens in one County than all the Counties combined in Northern Nevada. The needs of our South are much different than the needs of our North. With the population and attitude differences, our South is always trying to take advantage and control the North. It gets ugly and it’s just in one State.

    I wouldn’t necessarily like that California could run roughshod over say, Rhode Island, just because a Bill necessary for Rhode Island would not be what the people of California think is appropriate.

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