From the Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act of 1964 to the voter ID laws passed in various states, voting has been in the news almost non-stop since the 2012 national elections. And people have lots of opinions on the importance or significance of voting. From Russel Brand who says he doesn’t vote because it is a validation of a corrupt, broken system (my paraphrasing) to the young man who told me he doesn’t vote because it doesn’t affect him, to the many who feel like a single vote doesn’t count for much.
One thing is true. Voting is a fundamental building block of a democratic system of government. And for what it is worth, this is still the system we have. (We’ll leave campaign finance reform for another day.) Contrary to popular perception, the election of the president/vice president is the only true national election and the only one that involves tens of millions of voters. Every other election is much smaller and every vote counts that much more. By the time you get to city council or local school board elections, the numbers of voters are in the tens of thousands (check the turn out numbers tonight) making your vote that much more important.
And it is these local elections that determine the map of our everyday lives. Everything from traffic patterns, to the distance from your house to the local elementary school, to the property taxes you pay, to whether your street gets paved this year is decided at the local level. These are the types of issues we are voting on today.
So go out today and VOTE.
But don’t stop with voting. After the election, go meet the folks who won, whether you voted for them or not. They are charged with representing you. Make sure they know what your needs and interests are.