Nobody can make you vote on Super Tuesday tomorrow or March 15 (or whenever your primary is) or in the general election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. But in the United States of America, we have the freedom to do so. And if we don’t, we sacrifice something of ourselves and some of our children’s future. If you aren’t registered to vote, sign up now.
I know some of the reasons you might not want to bother voting.
“I’m just not sure who to vote for” or “There’s no one I like.” If you know one candidate worthy of your vote, then at least vote for him or her. If you need further help, ask someone you respect who may know the issues or candidates better than you do. For example, when you bought your home, you probably researched neighborhoods and schools and considered opinions. For local elections, it’s just as important to research the person who governs your neighborhood and schools. Don’t believe campaign one-liners. Instead, take five to ten minutes a day and read up on candidates and their views on critical issues. The candidates are not all the same. Try to discern their differences. Determine your most important issues and find candidates who address them. No candidates are perfect, but that shouldn’t immobilize you. At least vote for the best candidate running for office.
“It’s inconvenient and I don’t want to stand in line.” People in other countries are dying (literally) for the privilege of casting a vote without threat to life or limb. If you work, be thankful for your job and then get out before or after to vote. Many states have early voting that lasts several weeks and gives many opportunities to vote. Another option is to sign up for an absentee ballot and vote by mail. In whatever way possible, take time to exercise the privilege to vote.
“My vote won’t make a difference.” In fact, often my husband and my votes cancel each other out! But if I don’t go, then he’s one up on me. Did you know that 40% of Americans do not vote? (And the percentage of Christians who don’t vote is even higher.) But what if our next presidential election brought out the most voters ever? What if the usually silent Americans spoke? Do we honestly know what could happen? What if on election day the pundits were surprised by the strength of the voice of America? By failing to vote, you prove you don’t make a difference. Instead, tell one person a day, “Let’s make the difference!” Mobilize the pack.
If you have the right to vote but don’t and an unqualified candidate takes office, you have no one to blame but yourself. The above statements are excuses—not valid reasons. And if nothing else, consider this: America has plenty of citizens under the age of 18. If you don’t vote for their future, who will?
Vote and encourage your friends to do the same. Let your vote be heard. Put into practice the privilege we have as citizens and celebrate your freedom by securing it for future generations. They are counting on you!
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (Matthew 5:13)
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About Ann Stewart
Ann just won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel of 2017 with Stars in the Grass, originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. When she's not writing, she's waving her arms directing musicals, teaching middle schoolers, or watching UVA Basketball, This is Us, or Madam Secretary. In her free time she hangs out with her husband, raising two lovely daughters and a whole flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia--where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.
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