By in Random

Exercise Your Right to Vote

It may seem to some that abstaining from voting in American elections is a form of protest against a political system that has been bled of its integrity. My thought is that not voting is surrender to that system rather than protest.

Silence on issues of concern will not solve anything -- it never has. You can be sure that those who work to steer elections in their favor have factored in just who will and will not go to the polls on election day.

These political gurus count on your silence, your absence from the ballot box. Your voting abstinence further strengthens the votes of those the gurus have counted on to get their candidate elected or their pet issue passed.

Use your ability to write in candidates where its possible, if that's your choice. It doesn't mean your candidate will win, but your voice has been tallied.

Everyday citizens can make a difference, but only when we "play the game." Your ballot is a powerful tool; it's up to you to wield it or let it decay from disuse.

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Image Credit » OpenClips PublIc Domain CCO License via Pixabay

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melody23 wrote on October 29, 2014, 12:02 PM

I hate it when people don't vote saying 'it doesn't change anything' or words to that effect, I often argue with my mother over this as she usually refuses to vote but then of course was desperate to vote in the independence referendum. I always say to her if you didn't vote then you cant complain about what politicians do, you did nothing to try and change it, plus women quite literally threw themselves in front of horses for our right to vote. I think the Australian system is best: it is a criminal offense not to vote, but you don't have to actually vote for anyone if you don't want to, you simply turn up and cross the box that says you want to vote for no one, or a 'blank vote' and that's it. I think if we did that we would see a lot more people taking an interest in politics because they would feel more like they had to make a decision, but of course they would always have the right not to, they would just have to turn up and make that known that is their decision. Even in a vote so life changing as the Scottish independence referendum, only a little more than 70% of registered voters turned up, excluding the fact that there will be thousands of people not registered, that's still around 30% of people who couldn't be bothered to turn up to vote in this once in a lifetime, history making decision.

Feisty56 wrote on October 29, 2014, 12:12 PM

I feel your frustration and understand it well. I don't dislike the political system here any more than the next person, but I am determined to do make my voice heard.

I talk to people all the time who aren't even registered to vote. I encourage them to do so -- they have definite opinions on politics and issues, yet they refuse to register. It makes me want to scream in frustration.

melody23 wrote on October 29, 2014, 12:37 PM

I don't know if its the same in the states but over here being registered to vote is a huge thing because credit companies use the electoral register as a sort of proof of address history and how stable your address history is so if you are not registered to vote you stand little chance of getting a credit card and definitely wouldn't get a large loan or mortgage unless you had an unbroken stretch of a good few years of being registered to vote. Because of that most people are probably registered, but actually turning up to vote is a different story, the average turnout is roughly half the people who are registered.

Feisty56 wrote on October 29, 2014, 1:07 PM

I don't think that voter registration counts for anything here beyond registration itself. I've never even seen it used as a proof of address -- instead companies ask for a piece of recent mail from a utility company. Now that I think of it, the voter registration card would be a perfect way to confirm someone's address.

melody23 wrote on October 29, 2014, 2:53 PM

Over here it shows on your credit file if you are listed on the electoral register or not and it affects your credit rating greatly if you are not. I have only lived in my current house for two years and my credit rating took a huge hit when I moved here because I wasn't on the register (it takes ages to update) its now starting to recover but still under electoral register it shows as amber because I haven't been here three or more years even although I have been registered to vote at all times for the last ten years (since I was old enough). Its actually really unfair because you are totally penalised for moving house, in a way I understand that if you move around a lot then perhaps you could move and 'forget' to update your address on a card or whatever and stop paying, they then have to track you down etc but I think moving once shouldn't be a huge problem. Ironically we usually have to show a utility bill as well.

Ellis wrote on October 29, 2014, 3:10 PM

Maybe there should be a box on the form stating 'None of the above'

Feisty56 wrote on October 29, 2014, 5:25 PM

If the two systems works efficiently -- voter registration and the credit file -- it might make better sense to link the two. After you've explained this, I'm just as glad our credit files aren't concerned with voter registration.

Feisty56 wrote on October 29, 2014, 5:26 PM

Now there's a novel idea, but I'm guessing that little box would get the majority of the votes on some issues and offices -- then how would we proceed?

melody23 wrote on October 29, 2014, 5:27 PM

In the last six years I have lived in four separate houses so its not good for me

Feisty56 wrote on October 29, 2014, 6:00 PM

It would seem to me that this system penalizes those who rent. Most renters don't stay in one place for more than a year or two. Of course there are exceptions, but as a rule renters move more often than those who own their homes.

melody23 wrote on October 29, 2014, 7:20 PM

I sometimes feel like life penalises me for renting! I cant buy a house because I allegedly cant afford a mortgage because I don't earn over a set amount, but I can rent a house and pay someone else enough to pay their mortgage and still make money off me! does my head in sometimes, but on the other hand when there was a fire in my building I didn't have any of the associated financial stuff to deal with. some good points, some bad I guess

Ellis wrote on October 29, 2014, 7:44 PM

Come up with some new policies before the people

BarbRad wrote on October 30, 2014, 12:26 AM

You are so right on this. We took our absentee ballots to the county clerk's office yesterday. I no longer trust the mail or the voting machines in polling places.

BarbRad wrote on October 30, 2014, 12:31 AM

I don't think people should be forced to vote. These kind of votes would likely not be informed. In our country, we have enough uninformed people voting on the basis of short sound bytes they see or hear in the media. I'm sure a lot of people never research the issues or even read their voter information booklets before they vote.

Feisty56 wrote on October 30, 2014, 11:39 AM

That mistrust of the systems in place is a big issue -- I agree. There are a number of things that need to be sorted out in the present system so that public trust can be restored. Maybe that's why no one in power wants to me any changes -- because no one really wants more people voting.

melody23 wrote on October 30, 2014, 1:39 PM

There would definitely be an issue with uninformed voters, but I also don't think its right that a party can form a majority government when less than half of all people voted, and less than half of those that did voted for them, meaning that less than a quarter of the population actually voted for the party that gets to run the country.

Feisty56 wrote on October 30, 2014, 3:59 PM

Why do you suppose no one in power has thought of that? I am of a mind to think that it's because the government has well-armed itself against such possibilities.

BarbRad wrote on October 30, 2014, 8:35 PM

I think each side only wants its own people voting.

BarbRad wrote on October 30, 2014, 8:41 PM

WE often have low turnout here, too.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 31, 2014, 2:41 AM

We don't have the option to write in a candidate here in Canada. I have to say I like that option, a lot better than the choice between abstaining/spoiling my ballot, and voting for someone I wouldn't really want to see in office.