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Support National Voter Registration Day

218,959,000 — The number of Americans who are eligible to vote.

146,311,000 — The number of Americans who are registered to vote.

126,144,000 –The number of Americans who voted in 2012.

92,815,000 — The number of Americans who are willing to let other people make decisions for them.

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Today is National Voter Registration Day.  If you aren’t registered, or you’re not registered at your current address (common problem), visit this website to exercise your right to vote.  People have fought and died for your suffrage, the least you can do is take five minutes to make sure that you’re registered.

For those of you thinking, “But all the candidates are terrible, and I don’t think I’ll vote,” let’s talk for a minute.

We end up with terrible candidates because not everyone votes.  If you sat at home during the primaries, you conceded the high ground to reliable voting blocs made up of the most extreme elements of your party and one issue voters who’d cast a ballot for a ham sandwich if it shared their views on abortion/guns/taxes.  Those who skipped out on the primary elections are just as responsible for the candidates we ended up with, if not more so, than those who turned out to vote.  Do not compound this problem by letting voters who don’t share your values and beliefs pick your president, senator, representative, or governor for you.  Even if you just turn out to vote against the greater of two evils, let that be enough.

For those of you thinking, “But I’m not very educated on the issues, so I probably shouldn’t vote,” that’s hogwash.

Do you live in America?  Do you pay taxes?  Do you care about the environment, the schools, government accountability, or the military?  Do you buy health insurance, gasoline, and groceries?  Then, you have opinions about how you the government should be managed.  And given the wealth of voter information on the Internet, it might take you 10-minutes to learn enough about a candidate’s positions to make an informed decision.

Don’t have ten minutes?  Follow the candidates on Facebook.  Whoever you unfollow first is the loser.

For those of you thinking, “I won’t be able to get time off to vote,” I empathize.  But most states offer early voting or absentee ballots.  So if you don’t think you’ll have time to stand in line at the polls, there is probably a work around.

And lastly, don’t neglect local, county, and state races.  With all the bluster of the presidential and the pressure on the Senate races, it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.  Believe it or not, most of the governing in this country is done at the local and state level.  The federal government may write the checks, but leaders in your community decide how to spend that money.

If you care about education, the school board election matters more than the presidency.  If you’re concerned about incarceration rates and criminal justice, most states elect local and state judges.  And the list could go on and on.  So if you’re turned off by the presidential election (and really, who isn’t?), turn your eyes to the down ballot.  Because in 20 years, the guy running for city council could be running for the White House.

Now, stop what you’re doing, and go register.  And if you’re already registered, get your friends and family on board.

LEAVE A COMMENT

    18 comments

  1. S says:

    This is perfect. I’m stealing your line about unfollowing candidates on FB for future conversations.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  2. Linda L says:

    Great post – thanks for saying this.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  3. Janine says:

    Thank you for this post! My sentiments exactly.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  4. Hannah says:

    You can get time off from work to vote! Looks like it varies by state if it’s paid or not and the rule for when your job starts/ends vs when the polls open/close. Also check with your employer because their rule may be more generous than what’s required by law.

    https://www.findlaw.com/voting-rights-law.html

    September 27, 2016/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Awesome. Thanks.

      September 27, 2016/Reply
  5. Jenn S. says:

    When I was younger, I used to be one of the, “Doesn’t matter,” sorts. Shame on me – women in particular struggled so long in this country to even be able to vote, and here I was being apathetic.

    No more. Whatever you choose to do, something is better than nothing.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  6. KS says:

    I direct my friends who want to be engaged but just aren’t up to speed on the issues to ISideWith.com – it’s a great starting point and at least gets you thinking about what’s important to you.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Great tip, thanks.

      September 27, 2016/Reply
    • Valerie says:

      Ditto on this site. It helped me figure out which candidates I would support regardless of party lines, and gave me options in case my preferred candidate(s) weren’t nominated (useful in a particularly contentious election year!).

      September 28, 2016/Reply
  7. Lisa says:

    This is awesome, thank you for posting.

    “…one issue voters who’d cast a ballot for a ham sandwich if it shared their views on abortion/guns/taxes.” It’s funny because its true and also sad, Sigh.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  8. Rachel says:

    Amen, Belle! Never been prouder to be a CapHillStyle reader.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  9. Addie says:

    I changed my first registration before I’d even officially moved the year before last, it took 5 minutes. And I always vote early to avoid long lines on Election Day. If you don’t vote you’re not allowed to complain about the outcome.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  10. NorCalGalinDC says:

    Thanks so much for this post. Every vote counts. Every voice matters.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  11. K says:

    Voting in local races is so important. Those are the people who make decisions about roads, schools, businesses, housing, construction projects, and so many other issues that directly impact the place you live in.

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  12. Taylor says:

    Thank you for this post. Thank you for highlighting the importance of primaries and local elections. Thank you for reminding us of those that came before us.

    “Voting is the least arduous of a citizen’s duties. He has the prior and harder duty of making up his mind.” (Ralph Barton Perry)

    September 28, 2016/Reply
  13. Allison says:

    Shared to Facebook. So well written Belle, thank you.

    September 28, 2016/Reply
  14. Jess says:

    I am not excited this year. Saw a bumper sticker that said “Everybody sucks 2016” and I concur. Thoughts on the fact that we don’t have a popular vote? It really does sometimes feel like my vote doesn’t matter when we have an electoral college as far as the presidency goes….

    September 28, 2016/Reply
  15. Laura says:

    This was was great Belle!

    September 29, 2016/Reply