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Reasons to Vote in 2018

The 2018 mid-term election in the United States takes place 58 days from today and it may be the most important election of our – the people who hang out at this blog – long, long lives.

Now I know perfectly well that no one here would skip voting. Right? But just in case you know someone who doesn't vote or who thinks is it not important or doesn't believe their vote could make a difference, let's talk about that today.

Let's start with the fact that voting is a fundamental right of all citizens in a democracy. We have the privilege (that many in the world do not) to select our leaders rather than having them imposed or inflicted upon us which gives us a moral duty to take part in that choice.

We cannot take the right to vote for granted. Don't forget that there was a time when only certain citizens – while male landowners – could vote. Changing that took a long time. Here is a reminder of how that went:

There are still too many impediments to voting and right now the majority of legislators trying to change voting laws are the ones who would further restrict the right to vote.

In addition to the high-minded, patriotic reasons to vote, there is the real chance that if too many voters of one persuasion or another stay home from the polls, we are stuck with a leader or leaders who do not reflect the views of the entire electorate, and there is no telling where that takes us.

Elected representatives have the power to affect vital issues of everyday life: taxes, roads and highways, food, health care, education, public safety, air quality, even fair elections, to name only a few. Certainly, you want your voice heard for the people who make those choices.

Don't forget the importance of local candidates in your state, county or town. The voices of the full spectrum of citizens need to be heard to produce a more balanced local government rather than the views of just one faction who turned up at the polls in larger numbers.

And one more thing: you cannot complain, not one word, about what elected leaders are doing if you don't vote.

Here are some more thought on the question, Why Should I Vote:

We have 58 days until election day on 6 November. Here are some things you should do before then:

Make sure you are registered to vote

Mark your calendar so you don't make other plans on 6 November that would keep you from voting

Check out voter ID requirements in your location and be sure to have the correct identification documents

Make sure you know where your polling place is. You can do that at the Polling Place Locator

Check out all the other preparations you might need to know at this well-done page titled, Voting in Person on Election Day, for additional voting information

Unless you live in Oregon or Washington, the two states that vote by mail, make arrangements to get to the polling place if you need to on election day. Or, offer to drive or accompany people who can't easily get there on their own.

If you happen to live in Oregon or Washington or other states that vote by mail, your ballots arrive two or three weeks before election day. Be sure to mark your ballot and mail it before the deadline. There are drop-off areas in your town or city too.

This may be the most crucial election of our lives. Please vote and get everyone you know to vote too. Our entire way of life may depend on it.


Two additional thoughts:

Be informed about who is up for election... and particularly about any constitutional amendments and/or propositions. Some legislators try to sneak self-serving items onto the ballot during a "low turn out" mid-term election.

If you are unable to get to a polling place on election day or on an early voting day... vote absentee. Many states, including NC where I live, do not require a "reason". You apply (soon). The ballot shows up in your mailbox to be filled out (notarized here) and mailed back. Done.

Yes! Propositions and measures on ballots are vitally important, as are below-Federal persons running for office. They're the future, so know them, question their positions and records, and make your vote count.

Last June SF area counties voted for a bridge toll increase, on paper for a "reasonable" reason. But who uses those bridges, mainly? They flow to and from SF and silly-con valley. It's the people who cannot live in those areas, the workers who clean, garden, do the lower-level work and can't afford any more costs, often with 2-4 hour daily commutes. But most people didn't look at that. It's up to voters to also take care of others who need help.

There are now resources/places on the web for explanations of issues and people at most, if not all, levels of government. Look for those, but look closely at their credentials/ownership as well before trusting them.

I've never missed an opportunity to vote since my very first, for JFK. Since the current administration came in I keep thinking I'll get targeted to prove my citizenship because my last name is a common name south of our border. Very scary times we're living in and the only cure it to vote the Republicans out of office.

Colorado also has vote by mail. I'm SO happy about it. I remember voting many times when it required standing in very long lines. I couldn't do that today. But by golly, I'd hire a nurse and a wheelchair if I had to, to vote this time. We also have some urgent state issues on our ballot (eg, keeping oil and gas fracking rigs farther away from homes and schools). I intend to be part of a Big Blue Wave this fall, or a Blue Tsu as like to call it.

Great blog! I am sharing this with everyone I know.
Please rerun this one on the day before on Election Day !!

I have to disagree with you, Ronnie - voting is not a fundamental right of our society, it is a fundamental responsibility of it; the dues we pay to live in a democratic republic.

Many years ago, I fought for the right to vote at age 18, on the grounds that if it was my friends' and brothers' responsibility to die (if necessary) for their country, it was also their responsibility to have a say in how that country is run.

I have missed only one election since then (I was in the hospital for my first longer than overnight stay), and I now make sure I have an absentee ballot delivered to me so that this does not happen again.

I encourage everyone to vote, whether you agree with my views or not. Voting differently than me is fine - not voting isn't fine at all.

I firmly believe in voting, and knowing about the candidates.

Where I live it is increasingly difficult to get useful information on the candidates. Their websites are useless pablum. Their flyers are very clever about not telling us what party they represent. Like the recent Supreme Court hearings, ads and public forums don't shine much light on their ACTUAL thinking.

I do want to know and I have the time to dig a bit. This may be a problem that people with significantly less time are encountering.

I too cast my first vote for JFK. Since then I've occasionally missed a minor local election, but I've voted without fail in every major election, and I haven't missed ANY in probably the last 35 years. As a California resident, I have the option of voting by absentee ballot--most of the people in my area seem to be choosing thta these days. It's dead easy--they mail you the ballot, plus a bunch of information, you fill it out, stick the ballot in the return envelope, and voila, you're done.

As an aside: if I'm feeling underinformed and time is running out, I make a point of looking at the recommendations of organizations I admire--League of Women Voters, newspapers I like, even a personal phone call to someone I think follows local politics more closely than I do.

Right! My absentee ballot is on its way.

Thanks for helping to get the vote out. You are right, we can do more than just complain. Let's change a few things! Pay attention to local races also.

Coincidentally, This morning NPR had a piece "On The Sidelines Of Democracy: Exploring Why So Many Americans Don't Vote" . To listen today, go to npr.org.

It was very enlightening, pointing out that the largest block of non-voters was the poor and under-educated (surprise?). The most often heard reason was the sense that nothing would change for them. The country is run by big business and other people with power. Some of them, black people, voted once and that was for Obama, but haven't before or since. They voted for Obama and nothing changed, I guess.

For any readers in Michigan: Anyone 65 or older may vote with an absentee ballot. The process can be completed entirely by mail once you register at your local government office. My wife and I have been using this method for the past several years and are completely sold on it--we especially like the opportunity to study the issues and research candidates backgrounds at our leisure. Our ballots arrive in the mail several weeks before election day.

Oops. Any Michigan resident 60 or older is eligible.

I used to live in NY which is basically a one-party state. It's my party, but I must confess I didn't always vote b/c it didn't really matter. Now I'm in PA where my vote counts, so you can be sure I'll be there in Nov.

I agree with those who stated that voting is a right AND a responsibility. I join Susan R. in hoping for a Blu Tsu in November. The future of democracy may hang in the balance. I wish I knew what could be done to motivate non-voters to become voters. Maybe they've never known what changes their past votes STOPPED from happening, but if the current administration prevails, I'm sure all ordinary citizens will notice the changes that START happening as The Orange Apparition tightens his authoritarian grip on the nation!

I have never missed voting in a single election since becoming 21 (the legal age then). My grandmother, who had to fight for the women's right to vote impressed on me the privilege it was to vote; and, yes, the responsibility. I never forgot that.

This is the most important election of my long lifetime and in Arizona I have voted by mail for years. I will vote early this time just in case I am unable to vote on November 6 for some reason. At my age I don't want to take a chance.

I start my research early on how the current candidates voted and their opinion on important issues, but I will never put an X in the space for a Republican after what they have done to the country, no matter how qualified. Our Social Security checks and Medicare depend on taking away their power for one thing.

I wish I was able to drive the disabled or poor to the polls, but I do need to educate them on registering to vote so they can vote by mail. Our ballots are in Spanish and English so the language barrier is somewhat lessened.

Like most others here, I've never missed voting.........it's definitely a responsibility. Thanks for doing a get out the vote effort!

Californians can vote by mail if they've requested a ballot in advance. Ordinarily I choose to vote on election day at my local polling place. I like to note what sort of voter turnout is occurring, who is serving at the voting station and supervising the processes integrity. I also enjoy sometimes encountering long-forgotten acquaintances.

On one such occasion a couple whose children and mine had been friends revealed they were both experiencing memory issues -- one who volunteered at our local hospital that I had also occasionally encountered when I worked there. Eventually two of us had a long private conversation that revealed the spouse had been diagnosed to have Alzheimer's. Other times, some I meet there have much more positive stories of their lives to share.

I also like to wait to vote until election day less any late knowledge or event surfaces that might alter my views, especially during these crazy times in which we live. I'll be certain to request a mail-in ballot for any future elections should health issues begin to present a problem for me.

Years past in another state I engaged in door-to-door campaigning, also offering to provide transportation for voters to their polling place whatever their political orientation. Given the traditional and often disgraceful low voter turnout numbers, this assist can matter.

Last year I was surprised to be told by an acquaintance that a passing comment I had made to the effect people who didn't vote had no right to complain about governmental actions had prompted this person to vote. I chuckled to myself hearing this, because knowing the person's political views were quite contrary to my own I realized that my vote had likely been cancelled out.

Oh well, that's democracy! I like to think the person's increased interest in voting, possible concern about the state of our union, may result in rethinking future votes.

Here's a true story I've told many times but it never fails to bring a response. Perhaps not a vocal one but thought-wheels turn..............

In my small community many years ago, one of the candidates for Mayor was busily running around town on election night checking precincts and polls. When all the votes were counted, he lost by one vote: his. He was so busy with the minutae of the moment he 'forgot' to vote.

I tell this true story whenever I hear someone say "my vote doesn't count" or "one vote doesn't make a difference."

You bet it does, and it did for him. He lost.

I've run for office and served in my community. Let me tell you that it's hard, hard work. Candidates deserve your exercise of responsibility. It's a crucial part of citizenship. I'm with Ronni. You don't vote, you don't have a say in whatever might be the political topic of the day.

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