It’s Your Duty to be an Informed Voter and Vote

It’s Your Duty to be an Informed Voter and Vote

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Earlier this year, I was playing in a golf fund-raiser for a local candidate. When we finished, the congressman asked one of the course employees if he was voting. He responded, “No, I don’t know the issues and I don’t want to be an uneducated voter.” Fair enough, the congressman said and asked the employee what he wanted to know. His response was, “Nothing. I am happier this way.”

Wow, was my response. I wondered out loud why a citizen of this country would not want to have a say in the way he was governed. For him, it was just easier to stay out of it. And, in America, that’s his choice.  And, I think he has a point. If he is too lazy to educate himself and make an informed vote, maybe it’s best not to vote. Sometimes I don’t know anything about the school board members or the county sheriff candidates, so I leave it blank.

My congressman leaned over to me and said, “Unfortunately, 80% of the people who vote cannot tell you why they vote for someone.” In other words, the majority of individuals are uninformed voters. And, just remember, their vote counts just as much as a vote from an informed voter. There is no law that prohibits ignorant or clueless citizens from voting. So, “He seems like a good guy to have beer with,” matters just as much as, “I agree with his foreign policy on China and what it will mean for middle-class jobs.”

And, it’s hard to be an educated voter. There are so many candidates and so many issues.  You have to decide on president, US Senators, US Congressmen, state representatives, judges, school board members, sheriff… They also ask you to vote on important issues with federal, state and community implications – like Proposal A, Proposal B…

So, to become an educated voter, there are three simple steps. First, you have to know what you stand for and believe. This requires some soul-searching and thought. The interesting part is that your views will change over time just as you do. Second, you have to educate yourself on the candidates and the issues. This takes some time. Finally, you have to select candidates that align with your views. Some people are “single issue” voters like “pro-choice vs. pro-life,” while others consider all the views of a candidate before voting. Just like buying a new home that doesn’t check all of your boxes, I find no candidate fully aligns with all of my views.

“They” say that this is the most important election of our lifetime. I have been hearing that since the first time I voted in 1988 as a high school senior. That means I have voted in eight presidential elections, and I am about to vote in my 9th one in exactly 14 days. I view it as my patriotic duty. I know who I am going to vote for and I know why. If pressed, I could provide the top 10 reasons for my decision. The irony is that another educated voter will vote for the other guy because she/he disagrees with all of my reasons. I know that because my yard has signs supporting one candidate and my neighbor has signs supporting the other candidate. This plays out millions of times on election day. That’s America. One person, one vote. No one person has any more power than me when it comes to voting. Democracy at its finest.

Your Turn: I think it is your patriotic duty to become an educated voter and vote. Do you agree or disagree and why?

 

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