(You may have seen this back in 2012, but I feel it bears repeating. And just for the record, you’re free to speak your mind on this subject, as long as you agree with me.)
If you haven’t submitted your ballot already, you REALLY REALLY should make plans to cast your votes this year. I believe that voter apathy is among the worst threats to a free nation. So I’d like your indulgence as I share my arguments against not voting.
1) I’m not voting in protest. – If you live in a country that always seems to have nearly (or more than) 100% voter turn out in overwhelming favor of Glorious Leader, that might make sense. Or, if your community always votes overwhelmingly in your preference, maybe. But, by not voting, you’re surrendering your voice to the majority.
2) My vote doesn’t really count. – This couldn’t be more wrong, but not in the way one might be thinking. The numbers matter. Every person that votes, is one more person that’s at least paying token attention to what’s going on. If your party or issue never seems to win, voting may seem pointless, but sometimes only a few votes make the difference in an election. And afterward, most sensible officials are going to look at the numbers. If they won with 41% of the vote, and the other party got 40%, you can bet that they will probably consider what the 40% wants (again, assuming they have some sense), but the wants and needs of the remaining 9%, who could make all the difference in the next election, are also going to receive some scrutiny. But those that rarely or never vote, barely matter at all to the powers that be.
3) It doesn’t matter who I vote for anyway. – Do you recall reading “Horton Hears a Who?” In the end it’s just one voice that makes the difference. And it was a simple “Yap.” Sometimes it may seem like your one vote has little statistical value. But, voter turnout always matters. When someone wins on a huge voter turnout, it’s pretty clear that the voters should not be ignored. So perhaps who or what you vote for may in the long run matter considerably less than the fact that you actually voted.
4) Nobody cares if I vote or not. – Nope, nope, nope. The people in power do care if you voted. If you send a letter to your congressional representative and/or senator, the first thing their staff is going to do is check your voting record. If you didn’t vote, it’s probably going into the round file (the trash). I once brought up an issue to my congressman, and he not only payed attention, but he supported and helped pass a bill on that very issue. Did he do that all on my spurring? Probably not. But obviously enough voters cared that it made a difference.
5) My party/issue never wins anyway. – Well, DUH!
Simply put: If you don’t vote, you don’t matter.
This year, it really is important to vote. Some of the closest elections ever are likely this year. And with all the tales of voter suppression and election fraud, it’s more important than ever to support your causes and candidates. If you vote GOP I might even forgive you some day.