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Our system does not require your participation to function, it actually prefers it that way...
Are you a knowledgeable and active voter?
Do you know how to read the descriptions and instructions on the numerous state proposals and petitions you are likely to find on your ballot? Do you realize the wording on the ballot can trick you into voting against your own best interests? Ever remember reading a state proposal that tells you to vote Yes to not pass a measure or vice-versa? Why would they word a proposal so confusingly? The answer is to trick the low-information voter.
As a voter you don't have to know about every representative, you will only be voting for representatives from your district, along with a few other positions, maybe 10-20 different votes in all. Without an educated electorate that also actively participates, we all lose, well not all of us, but the vast majority (65% or more) of our population suffers in various ways. When we ignore our duty to vote, or worse yet, when we ignore our responsibility to vote in an educated fashion, we end up with a government the vast majority of us do not approve of.
If you are thinking about not voting, for whatever reasons, I implore you to reconsider such a strategy - if less than 80-90% of our population are not voting, we will almost never have a democratically valid outcome. Most candidates and state ballot measures will be passed with a minority vote that represents between 30-40% of all eligible voters, in which we incorrectly label the majority. Our system does not require your participation to function, it will gladly function on the votes of a minority, it actually prefers it that way, but that is why our country is faltering on so many fronts.
When everyday citizens fail to show up to vote, plutocrats looking to retain their power and push their agenda, fund shills to serve in government, and just hope the ignorant electorate votes down party lines or for whoever has the best campaign commercials. Communities suffering from low turnout are hurt severely by the lack of representation they receive, and this reality is repeated all across our Republic every election cycle.
When we fail to show up to vote with an educated vote, we are telling special interests, "Go ahead, use us, abuse us, and leave us destitute and without a say in our governance, we don't deserve it." I doubt any of us feel that way, so why would that be your voting strategy?
For those who will be participating, please arm your vote with knowledge and select representatives truly looking to serve your interests, even if they don't have a chance of winning against a well-funded opponent or incumbent. For resources to view your sample ballot and research the candidates and state measures listed on your ballot, please visit the following sources:
- Ballot Pedia
- Vote Smart
- Government Track
- Political Questions to ask Yourself
- Open Secrets
- Sunlight Foundation
Claude Morton, Column Editor: Claude Morton is an independent contributor, who mostly writes articles on politics, Veganism, philosophy, or local events. Claude has contributed to a variety of print and online outlets including Yahoo!, MovieMaker Magazine, and the Ann Arbor News. From Claude; I’m in the 1%, no, not that 1%. I’m a vegan, indie filmmaker, libertarian socialist, and a pacifist. I champion freedom as much as equality, and love discussing solutions about our country’s biggest dilemmas. ... (more...)