Please Vote!

For those of you who are US citizens, today is election day.  It is a midterm election which in the past have shown to have embarrassing small turnouts.  So I decided to write a post today asking if you are registered to vote, please go out and vote.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for – that is your own choice and responsibility.

The average turn-out for a midterm election is 40% according to Fairvote.com.  That is less than half the population that is eligible to vote.  It’s even less for elections that are purely local or primaries.  Being involved in your government is the first tool to making a change in the government.

Imagine that you are having a pizza party and there are ten people.  Four people get together and decide that the pizza is going to have sardines and pineapple. They asked everyone but 6 people decided to not participate in the choosing of toppings.   That is what is happening during midterm elections.  Only 4 of those ten people able to have a say are actually putting any input in.  Most Presidential elections are only having 60% which is still embarrassing low.

Do not let your government be that way.  Please vote today, and have a say in your local offices as well as federal.  Local is even more important then federal as it is most likely to affect you personally as well as many of the future federal politicians will seek local positions first on their way to Washington.  Choose good people to lay the foundation of the future.

Right now anyone over the age of 18 can register to vote.  It was not always that way.  Women and minorities have had to fight a long battle to gain the vote.  We should all appreciate that fight and use our right to vote.

There are many online resources to help you find out where you can vote and how long the polls will be open.  In particular there is Vote.org which has information about your rights as a voter and also can help you find your local polling place.

The Amendments: Twenty Six

This is a relatively easy amendment to talk about as it simply is that people, ages 18 years or older, are allowed to vote.

SECTION 1

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

SECTION 2

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The amendments spend quite a few words on reminding us that we have the right to vote.  Previous amendments have added that it doesn’t matter what our race, gender, or ability to pay fees are, we have the right to vote if we are an American Citizen.  This Amendment adds that as long as an American citizen is of age (18), they have the right to vote.

This is important, because for many 18 year olds this year, their first opportunity will be to vote.  If you are 18 (or new to voting) and wondering how to register and/or vote, here are a few links to help you out:

Register to Vote (USA.Gov)

This website can help answer your questions (including about Absentee Ballots, which may be important if you are going to college away from your polling area and can’t get back to vote on election day).

The link takes you to their page on registering, but it also has many informative pages on voting and elections.

CanIVote.com 

This website allows you search and find out if you are registered to vote.  I tried it out and it sent me to my state’s services which told me I am registered (although apparently not to the party I thought I was.

The Voting Information Project 

This website is put together by a group of organizations including Google, and state governments to help gather information to help voters inform themselves on items they find on their ballots.

You can also google your state and voting information to find out information that specific to your states.   Remember that some states (like my own) have Voter ID laws and other such specifications on how you register and/or verify your vote.

The first step to changing the way your government does things is to participate in voting.  On average, only 60% of eligible voters actually participate during Presidential elections.  Its even less during midterm elections (about 40%) and even less than that when you are in between those two election years.  We can’t complain about not being heard when we don’t take advantage of what is already there to hear us.

Please register to vote and take advantage of your right to participate in your government.

And you can always listen to Martin Sheen:

Voting & The Electoral College

(I am an American, so this post is about the United States election system.  If you are a non-American reader, I would love to hear about how your election systems differ)

Many times I have heard people claim they don’t vote because it isn’t like their vote matters anyway; in the end the Electoral college chooses, not the people.  And in a sense they are right.  Since the US is a Republic, we choose representatives based on population.  Therefore states with more population have more electoral votes in the college. Therefore places more heavily populated tend to get favored in the Electoral college.

Except for two facts:

Continue reading “Voting & The Electoral College”