Don’t vote? Don’t complain.

On my way home from work today, the news on the radio was talking about how the precincts in my area were seeing a voter turnout of 30-40%, and viewing it as a good thing. I think it is pathetic. There are many countries where individual citizens don’t have the right to vote, and here we can’t even get a simple majority to show up, and that’s only of the people who have taken the time to register. My parents always voted, and I’m proud to do the same, no matter how insignificant a particular ballot might be. My Dad told me, “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain if you don’t like the way things turned out.” Think of what could happen in the current political races if even half of those non-voters cast their ballot. I exercised my right this morning. While most Super-Duper Tuesday polls will have closed when this gets read, I hope those of you who live in areas that haven’t voted yet do the right thing and cast your ballot.

3 Responses to “Don’t vote? Don’t complain.”

  • I was pleasantly surprised when I moved to Oregon 6 years ago that: a) the “motor voter” law here registered me to vote at the same time that I received an Oregon drivers license; and b) we vote by mail or dropping the ballot off at the courthouse. No polls. Convenient, and very effective at getting turnout. It also had the effect of promptly getting me picked for jury duty within a year…:)

    The downside is that the state sends a “booklet” that sometimes reaches the size of a small telephone book explaining measures, candidates, positions, etc. for every election. It makes it difficult sometimes to wade through all of that stuff and try to gain enough of an understanding to form an opinion – particularly of measures with lots of obscure elements. Also, you get complete bios for people (usually unopposed) running for our version of dogcatcher…:)

    I agree with your stance on voting completely, and there is another tactic that I wish people would use more often – get in front of the candidates and grill the crap out of them. No orchestration, no canned questions, no posturing. Tell the people like it is – or isn’t – or won’t be.

    Then, I woke up from my dream…:)

  • That’s funny. I actually miss those booklets from when I lived in California. It made it so much easier to be an intelligent voter for everything, including dogcatcher. We don’t get those in Illinois, and as a result, there’s always people on the ballot that I have no clue about. While in some cases, it won’t matter (e.g. there were 3 republicans running in a Senate primary who don’t have a prayer of beating the Democrat, Dick Durbin, come November), for local officials, it really could matter. So, I’d consider those booklets an upside!

  • mclean:

    How can urging people to vote be construed as “outside the box” in any sense? I’ve seen some persuasive (to my mind) arguments that the only people who really have a right to complain about government are those who conscientiously refuse to vote. I suppose if you vote libertarian that would count, too, since it is effectively the same as not voting. But if you vote for a repub or dem, you are essentially giving your approval to the two party system. Both candidates are part of the same system. Just b/c your guy doesn’t win doesn’t mean that you did anything to change the system, you simply chose b/w the two candidate offered to you. You could’ve flipped a coin and come up with same “choice” approximately half the time. Those who don’t vote are the only ones saying “No, this isn’t how it should be”. If you really want change… well, I can’t see how not voting is going to change anything, but neither can I see how voting for either of the major party candidate will, either. But it does seem to give people a warm, fuzzy feeling, like they’re “participating”, like they’ve actually done something. Ah, well…

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