“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato
I remember when the law was changed and the minimum age to vote became 18. It was the year I turned 18 so I was excited. Do you know why the law was changed?
If you’re of a certain age, you will remember that we were in a war in Vietnam. The powers that be told us we MUST fight there to keep communism from taking over. Over 58,000 Americans died fighting there and you know what? Our side did not win. (This may sounds familiar regarding some other recent wars.)
So, the argument was if an 18-year-old was mature enough to die for our country, an 18-year-old is old enough to vote. And yet, most don’t vote now.
Do you know that only 36.4% of registered voters actually participated in the elections in November 2014? In India, who proudly declares itself the largest democracy in the world, the last election had a voter turnout of 54.43%. In fact, year after year, country compared to country, the United States ranks the lowest of any major developed country in registered voter turnout.
Using voter turnout is an indication of how people participate in their government. So why do you and your neighbors skip acting on your opportunity to vote?
Many people think their vote does not count. And yet, here in Oregon, where voter turnout was better than the national average, about 30% of registered voters did not act. In several districts the difference between the winner and the loser was under 1000 votes. The difference between the yes and the no vote for GMO labeling was 837 votes. If you now have a result you don’t like and you didn’t vote, you are responsible. Understand that.
Many people say they are too busy to vote. Here in Oregon we vote by mail. In the upcoming election, the ballots will be sent to us April 29. Election Day is May 19 and ballot drop boxes are open until 8p.m. for those people who did not mail them back. If you read the voter packet with information about each race and each candidate, market your ballot, put a stamp on it and walk it to the mailbox, it might take you 15 minutes. You can vote any time. You can even vote in your pajamas.
Voting registration is a process that can be intimidating. There have been times when people were made to answer difficult questions before they were given a ballot. Many were turned away. Women fought for the right to vote. African Americans have the legal right to vote but there are still some places where obstacles are difficult. Here in Oregon you can register to vote at the DMV. When you go to renew your license or your car registration, you can register by filling out a form that takes about 2 minutes. Recently the state passed the Motor Voter law, making voting registration very easy. In fact, to refuse to register takes more time. You can, of course, register at the County Clerk’s office. The last day for registering for the May election is April 28.
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 the LEAST you can do. Getting involved helping a candidate you admire is much better.
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’. Find out more about third party candidates. If you have a smart phone, you have access to lots of information that your regular tv news probably won’t bother to tell you.
Some people believe all political candidates are bought off by corporations, so why bother voting, because the votes have already been bought and sold. People who hold that belief are actually correct in a way. CORPORATIONS DO NOT CONTROL VOTING!
Many voters turn out for Presidential elections but don’t bother with local issues. On the local level your voice is so important! We are voting for the local Board of Education on May 19th. There will be a McMinnville candidates forum held in the Carnegie Room of the Public Library Wednesday, April 29 at 7p.m. Come listen to the candidates speak. Then you can make up your own mind who sounds like they can represent your interests on the school board.
More about Yamhill County election dates and other information can be found here.
WHEN ORDINARY PEOPLE DON’T VOTE, THAT LEAVES THE WEALTHY MINORITY WITH THAT MUCH MORE CONTROL AND POWER