Reasons for nonvoters and fencesitters to vote

If you’re a registered voter but you’re thinking about sitting this election out, here are three reasons to go vote:

  • GOOD REASON: Muscles atrophy when unused, and so do rights. Exercise your voting muscle and do your part to keep voting a right for all of us.
  • MEDIOCRE REASON: If you sit this one out, you’ll still be voting—you’ll simply be voting for the party, platform, or candidate you hate the most.
  • AWFUL REASON: If you don’t vote now, you have no business complaining later. Make sure you keep your legitimate whining options open.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter why you decide today to make a difference, or why you decide that this time you’ll be heard, as long as you are heard.

Go. Vote. Be counted.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.


13 comments… add one
  • KatFeete Nov 9, 2006 @ 20:45

    I never vote on uncontested races—this is my small personal referendum on democracy: If there is no choice, there is no possibility of genuine representation.

    According to my husband, an ex-Russian, in Russia there is the option to vote “none of the above” on all ballots. If enough people vote “none of the above”, the election has to be re-run with new candidates.

    I quite like this idea. Can we nick it?

    And, yes, I voted, as I always do. Politics stink, but that’s no reason to give up hope.

  • hollylisle Nov 9, 2006 @ 9:14

    Carlie—I listed reasons for voting as good, mediocre, and awful based on their civic value. Ideally, everyone would vote, and everyone would do so because the value of the voice of each individual and the right of the individual to be heard is the cornerstone upon which this nation was founded. People have fought and died to, first, win the right of self-determination, and then to win the right to be recognized as worthy individuals: Free, white, 21, male, and a landowner is no longer the criteria.

    But even voting to prevent a disliked candidate from winning or voting to maintain whining rights are better reasons than not voting at all.

    I voted. My two big choices, and a handful of my smaller choices, won. But even if they hadn’t and even if I knew beforehand that they wouldn’t, I still wouldn’t have voted.

    Voted on amendments to the state constitution. We had no big hot-button questions, but on our small questions, the majority of the state voted as I did, in many cases by massive margins. 89% in favor on one issue. Good to know I’m living in the right place.

    I refused to vote on uncontested races. I never vote on uncontested races—this is my small personal referendum on democracy: If there is no choice, there is no possibility of genuine representation. My hope is that some day enough others will abstain from voting on uncontested races to give the unchallenged winner the uncomfortable realization that he does not have a mandate.

  • writewize Nov 9, 2006 @ 0:12

    Holly,
    After reading on your site for about six hours today (even more yesterday) I came across some old posts about migraines. I thought I would share some information with you.
    Drink lots of water. Not tea. Not soda!!!
    Take a B 12 supplement every day.
    Know that it could be related to:
    the weather patterns, your hormones, second-hand smoke, chemical smells and other things.
    I even have migraine triggered epilepsy and have had serious vision complications arise which left me with night blindness due to an unchecked migraine several years ago.
    I have had tremendous success with a newer medication called Topamax.
    I know you might not like being on a “preventative” medication that you have to take every day but it works wonders.
    I just don’t have migraines anymore.
    Any time you have questions you just ask me.
    kay
    writewize@hotmail.com

  • writewize Nov 8, 2006 @ 0:20

    Yeppers, I waddled on down to the voting place (I’m disabled) and put in my two cents worth of decisions. My vote was highly important this time because Ks/Mo have a Senate seat that could change in the House. Latest news on CNN shows it might be picked up by the Democrats.
    So, I have my little “I voted” sticker.

    Oh, and I’m hoping the Culture Clinic is out for Christmas. I’m gonna add it to my Amazon Wish list.
    Toodles.

  • Jaye Patrick Nov 7, 2006 @ 23:58

    I’ve been watching with interest and I’ll be looking for the turnout percentage – hopefully it will be higher than in previous elections.

    Here, in Australia, voting is compulsory. If you don’t vote, you get fined. It’s a system that works very well.

    Bit of a paradox to have a democratic right as compulsory… but it makes every citizen aware of that right. I guess it’s more of an obligation as a citizen; only the lunatic fringe complain about it, and they rarely have anything worthwhile or econonmically feasible to say during a campaign.

    But, I’m sure you’re all relieved it’s almost over. I’ve got to say I’m appalled at the dirty tricks and verbal abuse some of your politicians have resorted to in the pursuit of election. Why can’t they stick to the issues at hand and instead of criticising, come up with workable solutions?

  • Jim Nov 7, 2006 @ 22:06

    Definitely. I did my civic duty. Even if you don’t have someone you want to vote for, you should find people who you want to vote against 🙂

  • PolarBear Nov 7, 2006 @ 20:19

    I mailed mine a week or two ago. A whole long thing front and back. I think every office in the state, county, and municipality of Texas was up for grabs this time around. It took me a good two to three hours to research my choices. It was worth it. I learned some interesting things. Several incumbents in the party I tend to favor were not the right choice. Several in the party I tend not to favor were. In fact, I found a few worth my consideration in some of the “fringe” parties.

    Just an observation, if you’re running for election, have a way for someone to find out more than your name and your email address. Make your views known in some forum. If I could find little more about the candidate than what the ballot contained, I didn’t give them a second thought.

  • eitje Nov 7, 2006 @ 19:58

    if you have electronic voting offered in your district, make sure to read these short articles, and be careful during your vote:
    http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/evoting.ars
    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061101-8131.html

    also, it wouldn’t hurt to send that info on your state rep, senator, family, friends, media contacts, and anyone else you might know. yknow, if fair elections matter to you.

  • The English Rose Nov 7, 2006 @ 19:53

    I wish more people would vote — I also wish more people would do a bit of research before voting, but I’ll take what I can get because even those of us who do research are unsure we’re making the best choices… but it beats going in blind, eh? I’m twenty-one and I really really wish I could figure out a way for people my age to be more involved. The whole absentee-ballot-if-you’re-in-college-and-want-to-vote-back-home thing… it’s hard enough getting young adults to the polls when we can walk there, so the absentee thing pretty much guarantees less voter turnout in my age group. *sigh* But I digress… yay democracy! (I like Miss Snark’s idea of making Election Day a national holiday with picnics because then nobody’d have an excuse for not “being able” to vote.)

  • Carlie Nov 7, 2006 @ 19:52

    My thinking: Voting is a privilege. Americans are lucky that for the majority of people things will stay practically the same no matter who is voted in, so they don’t have to think about it. For me, I wish politicians spent less time attacking the opposition in ads and more time telling us their policies and what they believe in.

    I am curious why you called the reasons to vote “awful” etc.

  • Rick Nov 7, 2006 @ 14:39

    Mailed my absentee ballot in last week.

    Happy election day!

  • TinaK Nov 7, 2006 @ 10:52

    I voted at 7 am this morning and I vote in every election because people died to give me the right to do so. I also use the ‘awful’ reason on people who don’t vote. 😀

  • shawna Nov 7, 2006 @ 10:20

    Mmmm. Thanks for the reminder to go drop the darn thing off. (Mail-in only here, and mine is on my desk. Forgot it yesterday.) I use reason “awful” on people on a regular basic… it’s a great way to guilt people who aren’t even registered into at registering.

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