Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Importance of Voting

(Just a forewarning, this first paragraph is probably really confusing with all the parenthesis and differing rules that I am trying to briefly explain. I'm really sorry about this, but the regulations that are involved in the voting process are also confusing, so it is a tad hard to simplify an already complicated process. Just skip over it if it all becomes too much. Nevertheless, enjoy.)

In a little less than a week, my little town will be holding its local election. Generally (and I say generally because voting varies from town to town, county to county, state to state, etc.) most local elections (mayors, school board, etc.) are held on the first Tuesday of November (following the first Monday) in odd years (example the year 2015) with national and state elections (presidential, US Congress, state legislatures, etc.) held in the first Tuesday of November (following the first Monday) during even years. Although there are a lot more logistics to this (such as we do not vote for a new mayor every odd year, there are special elections that happen year round, primaries do not happen in November, etc.), this is simply a quick overview that will allow me to get to my most important point: you should really, really vote.

This is especially true in your local elections. A lot ton vast majority decent amount of people complain about the US Government and their respective elected officials. They say they're inefficient, they do not listen to our concerns, they're rich, they're greedy, they're entitled, etc., etc. I could seriously go on and on about the numerous times I have heard of people complaining about the president, congressmen, and so on and so forth, yet there is totally something they can do about it...VOTE.

The United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts of any first world democratic country. Voter turnout usually hits around 50%-60% for presidential elections, 30%-40% for non presidential mid term elections (national/state elections happen every two years, but we only elect a president every four years so every other national election we vote in just US senators/representatives and State senators/representatives but no president), and local elections vary dramatically depending on how big of a city you live in but they average a 21% voter turnout.

Now if you think about this, a presidential election that rakes in a measly 60% voter turnout means that whoever wins at least half that amount will win the election. Theoretically, a person who only received the votes of 31% of registered voters could easily win if only 60% of registered voters come to do their civic duty of voting in the election.

Then when we look at local elections things get even more messy. If you really want your voice to be heard, you would vote in your local election. Because local elections involve a smaller pool of people, your sole vote can make all the more difference, and yet people don't show up.

Voter turnout is a public record, and I urge you to visit your local board of election's website to view how voter turnout ebbs and flows as the years progress. In our last municipal election in 2013, my county had a 15.78% voter turnout; it is truly sad to me that people care so little about the value of our democracy that they do not bother to do their research and vote.

In our world where not everyone has the opportunity and freedom to have their political concerns voiced and expressed, you would think that Americans would find a way to express their right that is a rarity in many parts of the world, but I digress.

Anyways. Have a fabulous day and of course, vote.


  1. I've always thought of this the exact same way :P If only 20% of people vote, it'll almost definitely be the most extreme 20%, and they end up outvoicing the actual majority. People say their vote won't make a difference because awful politicians get elected anyway, but they don't realise that it's as a result of too many people thinking like that..

    The US voting system seems very confusing, you could do a post about it before the election if you're stuck for blogging ideas!

    t's shocking that less than 16% of your county feel affected by who's governing them.. Our voter turnout varies a lot, for the same-sex marriage referendum it was over 60% (the highest since the 1930s! Considering some crazy % of people on the Voter's Registrar have actually immigrated/died since registering, this means almost everyone voted) because that was something people were passionate about, however I worry that it will be difficult to mobilize all the younger voters before the next election..

    This may seem a bit off-topic, but I remember a few years ago there was a referendum of the Lisbon Treaty (complex economic thing-y) which our govt REALLY wanted to pass, as all our main trading partners were realigning their laws, and it could cut us out of the market (also, the less publicized reason: we could get more EU grants). Anyway, they deliberately gave the most confusing, unhelpful information in the 'neutral' Gvt Referendum Guide and had commercials showing 'ordinary people' saying 'this Treaty will be good for Ireland' without telling us what it was or how we would benefit. Only 20% of people turned out to vote and it failed to pass, so the government held the EXACT same referendum a few weeks alter, but marketed it completely differently. It did pass in the end because I don't think anyone opposed it strongly enough to vote No twice, and even now no one is sure exactly what it was. I think this summarises the government's attitude toward connecting with the voters, they give us a simplified, bias version of something rather than respecting us enough to make up our own minds. If the gvt would engage more with the public, we might actually have a generation of interested, aware people voting in our leaders..

    Anyway, sorry for rambling, and good luck with your college applications (if you're still in the process of doing them!) :)

    1. That is SO interesting (all of it but especially the Lisbon Treaty referendum). I think the government, politicians, campaign managers, etc. know that all it takes is a few watered down commercials to persuade voters one way or another. Most citizens are pretty uninformed and get their information through their television, and politicians certainly use that to their advantage. I have always thought a college class on the psychology of elections would be something fascinating to take (I'm sure it exists and if it doesn't then it should).

      Thanks for you good luck well-wishes on my college applications as well. I am definitely at the home stretch, but I have a few scholarship applications to finish up. I hope university is going well for you. :)