Many people are totally frustrated and angry at the current political situation. Many people are fed up with the politics as usual and the polarization of the two parties. These things are a given fact.
But beyond these given fact, how many reasons are there for NOT voting? Do these reasons have merit? Are there some solutions to problems or issues around voting and the ultra low 7% approval rating for Congress? Also, what are the consequences of not voting?
1. Many people think their vote does not count. Voters believe that the Electoral College selects the President, not the actual vote count. What actually happens though is that the votes of the people in each state determine the candidate that the Electoral College then endorses for that state. This means that every vote counts, and every person should vote, because the Electoral College candidate is determined by VOTERS, not by some arbitrary process that has nothing to do with voters.
2. Many people have the excuse that they are too busy to vote. Family, work and other life events ‘get in the way’ of voting. Is that really an obstacle to voting, when it is possible to vote by mail these days?
All that has to be done to avoid the too busy excuse is to register to vote at some point during the year, and at the same time, ask for a permanent mail in ballot. The process of voting by mail is no more difficult than paying a bill.
3. Voting registration is a process that people can fear or feel intimidated by. However, the process of registering to vote is much like the process of getting an ID card, where one simple form is filled out. The process of voting registration is actually easy and effortless, and it can be done by mail or online.
4. Apathy is probably the most common reason for not voting. People often do not vote because they do not like the bickering and infighting or mud slinging between candidates. People believe with a lot of justification that politics is a dirty business, and they want nothing to do with it. As a result of the mud slinging, many choose to not pay attention to politics, or ignore it completely. However, those same people often complain the loudest about how bad things are, while not doing anything to make it better. Voting is just one small, simple thing that can be done to make a difference. If you do not vote, do not complain about how bad things are. Get informed about some clean and green political options, such as the Green Party.
5. Some people say they do not vote, because the ‘lines are too long’. However, when seen from the perspective of people dying to gain the RIGHT TO VOTE, standing in line for even a few hours seems like a small price to pay, wouldn’t you agree? There is also a simple and easy process to convert to a mail in ballot, permanently, so you NEVER have to stand in line, unless you WANT to do that.
6. Some people say they do not vote because they do not like the two candidates that are on the news every night. What most people do NOT realize is there are many political candidates and choices beyond the first two that are on the nightly news ‘programming’. If you do not like being programmed against your will, choose one or more of the third party candidates. For example, the Green Party candidates do not accept any corporate money, plus they have a platform that looks ahead seven future generations, instead of just two years. Why choose from the lesser of two evils, when there is political choice that you can vote for; with NO EVIL contained within it?
7. Some people say that they cannot get to the polling place to vote. This may have some validity if a person is sick, disabled or without transportation. It is now possible to vote early, vote by mail, or to have someone else vote for you, by signing a form that gives someone you trust the power to vote in your place. Between these many options, it is still possible to vote, even with difficult circumstances.
8. If a person is traveling, it may be an excuse for not voting, but again the same techniques already explored in the previous sections offer a way to vote. Vote early, vote by mail, or have the ballot sent to where you will be on vacation or on station in the military. There is a way to do this.
9. In Australia, coming up with excuses to not vote is not an option. Did you know that Australia REQUIRES everyone to vote, or to pay a $50 fine? Australia is a democracy and freedom loving country that understands how crucially important it is to vote. They understand (as everyone should) that democracy and freedom is a responsibility and a burden. Voting may not be easy or convenient, but in a freedom loving country, voting is a moral and ethical requirement. What would happen if EVERYONE was required to vote here in the USA? How would that change things? Pretend that this law exists, and that you are required to vote. It may be a more healthy way to look at the world.
10. Some people do not vote for a third party such as Green Party, because they are told it will ‘spoil’ the vote for one of the big two politicians. This is another propoganda piece put out to intimidate voters and get them to toe the line, or to end up not voting, through social pressure, mental and emotional pressure. Remember, this is the United States of America, where everyone is FREE to vote for anyone that they want to vote for, even if it is a write in candidate not appearing on the ballot. Saying you will ‘spoil’ democracy unless you vote the way others do is not even rational.
No one can ‘spoil’ an election. The essence of freedom is that you have the right and privilege of voting for the BEST choice, not the lesser of two evils. Why vote for evil out of fear, when you can vote for good with courage and hope?
Remember that the only people not allowed to vote are approximately 10 million illegal aliens and 5.8 million felons. These two groups are NOT allowed to vote, so these groups really do have a valid reason for NOT voting; THEY CAN’T VOTE, unlike you. So if you want to be like illegal aliens and felons, don’t vote. 5.8 million felons and illegal aliens cannot vote by law, but they wish that they could.
There is a problem with ex-felons not being allowed to vote. “The vast majority of these disenfranchised adults have been released from prison. Sentencing Project researchers found more than 4 million Americans who cannot cast a ballot because they’re on probation or parole, or live in a state that withholds the right to vote from all ex-felons.
“This is a fundamental question of democracy,” said the Sentencing Project’s executive director Marc Mauer. “These policies go back to the founding of this country. [The U.S.] was founded as a great experiment in democracy, but was very limited. Wealthy, white male landowners granted themselves the right to vote, but women, poor people, Indians, African Americans and people with felony convictions could not vote.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/felon-voting-laws-disenfranchise-sentencing-project_n_1665860.html
The right to vote was acquired at great cost of many lives and great suffering by the poor, brave women and people of color. Why would you throw this right and freedom away?
If you want to be like people living in terror of punishment under dictatorships, with no right to vote, and no choice of candidates other than the dictator, by all means, quit voting. If you want to be like those quivering in fear under the thumb of despotic regimes such as Quatar, where free voting is NOT allowed, go ahead and do not vote. Do not be surprised when things do not go the way you want. Remember, every vote counts, and your vote is crucially important. You will certainly not ‘spoil’ anything or anyone, if you vote exactly the way you want to vote.
11. Some people say that voting does not matter, because their ONE vote will not swing the result one way or the other. The only problem with this is that many state elections have swung one way or the other based on a few votes, a couple of hundred votes or in the case of a Presidential election, a few thousand votes. The problem with this thinking is that MANY people think this way, so the problem is not just one person’s vote that is lacking, it is MILLIONS of people who think and act this way. MILLIONS of people voting can make a HUGE difference, as most campaigns are extremely close one way or the other.
12. Especially with local campaigns, even third parties can win a campaign if all third party registered voters such as the Green Party actually come out and vote. People typically do NOT vote because they ‘believe’ that their vote will not count for anything, anywhere. As a result, their fear actually comes true, because when they do not vote, their worst fear is actually realized… their vote is NOT counted, so they truly and justifiably feeling helpless, frustrated and angry.
13. Some people believe all political candidates are bought off by corporations, so why bother voting, because the votes have already been bought and sold. Those people with that belief are actually correct. However, Uncle Kippy will always be of the side of his bosses. The American people!