I’m incredibly proud to live in a state where you can register to vote on the day of an election. That’s right, in Colorado you can still be bugged into voting by people all the way up to (and including) November 6th. This is extremely democratic no matter how you look at it. A strong democracy should do nothing to limit the voice (vote) of the individual citizen.
For some states the voter deadline was as early as yesterday — A whole month before the midterm elections. It’s no surprise that these states are largely Republican strongholds, as they’re the party who’ve done everything in their power for the last fifty years to suppress the votes of anyone who isn’t old or white. Presumably they’d also want to limit the female vote, but requiring extra, mandatory ID cards for “Uterine-Americans” does seem a little obvious.
Better people than myself have discussed the attempts of powerful politicians to limit the voting rights of American citizens, so watch this Last Week Tonight video from a couple of years ago (if you want to), as it has plenty of strong sources and case studies.
My point is that a strong democracy would do anything it could to help its citizens to vote, and being able to register until the day of an election (or at least the week of) is an excellent place to start.
For most states, the deadline to register to vote will be in the next couple of weeks, and I wanted to use my space today to plead a case for democracy.
As a new immigrant in the United States, I can’t vote in this election, or the next one, but maybe the one after that. It’ll be the 2022 midterms before I should be able to use my democratic voice in America for the first time, providing the paperwork goes through in time. So it’ll more likely be the 2024 elections. So, honestly, you should vote simply because I can’t.
I won’t tell you how to vote, because ultimately that should be your decision based on the issues you care about. I’d much rather you voted for a hard-right Republican than not vote at all. Which sounds counterproductive to my own personal ideologies, but it’s true. If you vote then you’re a part of the conversation, and it gives you the right to do that thing we all love to do so much — Complain.
I’m of the opinion that if you don’t vote then you don’t have the right to complain about anything in society that upsets you. If you only care about local issues, then smaller elections (especially during the midterms) are exactly how you can make a difference with fairly minimal effort.
Look to specific plans that local candidates are pushing for — Are those plans something you care about? Then vote for that candidate! The more people who vote in smaller elections, the more pressure that’s then put on the winner to fulfil their promises.
Why don’t we have a giant wall? Why isn’t Hillary in jail? Why haven’t we seen Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate? Well because President Trump lost the popular vote of course!
(Sarcasm, that was sarcasm)
It’s perfectly reasonable to have the opinion that all politicians are a bunch of thieving, lying, arse-holes. Especially as some of them are! If that’s the case then I encourage you to register to vote anyway, and then “spoil your ballot” with a protest vote. Write your opinions on your ballot paper, or simply ruin it by doodling a picture of a giant cat. You’ll still count as someone who voted, and you’ve successfully voiced your displeasure for the current system, as well as your pro-giant cat status.
Obviously there are more constructive ways to change the world, but personally I’d rather you did this than not vote at all. At least this way you can join the public conversation of general disgruntlement and wholeheartedly complain about the current establishment.
I’m incredibly passionate about the idea that every vote matters, because it really does. I’ve witnessed a surprising number of recounts in the UK, because an election has come to within fifty or so votes. I’m certain it’ll be the same for some elections in the US. Think about the special election in Alabama last year, Doug Jones beat out alleged pedophile Roy Moore, but only by 1.7% of the votes.
Sure, your state/district might be absolutely safe red or blue, but by voting you help to either keep that seat safe, or to decrease the gap and make politicians worried. And at the very least your vote contributes to national statistics.
For example, if you hadn’t reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election (you wanted Bernie, but hey ho) then Trump might’ve won the popular vote as well as the Presidency. Losing the popular vote gave people across the country hope — Hope that sane people still make up the majority. So thanks for voting!
One way to think of voting is that it keeps the tyranny at bay. Some people in office want as few people to vote as possible, so they can pass laws in their own interests. The higher the voter turnout, the greater the pressure.
Despite all of its flaws, I love America. It’s a great experiment of a society and aims to be a shining light for democracy across the world. In recent years however, it feels like it’s slowly losing grip on that goal. America is its people, and that means everyone, not just the wealthy white dudes at the top. The more people who vote, the brighter that light shines.
Please register to vote if you still can, and if you missed the deadline then remember to do it ahead of the 2020 Presidential election. It’s never too late to start caring. Your voice matters because it strengthens democracy and sticks two-fingers to the establishment in the most effective way possible. Wow, voting is punk-rock — It’s DIY, individualistic and you can change the world.
Click here if you haven’t registered, you’ll be helped by a friendly non-partisan website.
I’d love to hear that some of my readers are planning on voting, so comment below to let me know if you are. Also, comment below if you don’t plan on voting — I’d genuinely love to hear why, and I promise I’ll be kind, as I respect your individual choices.
Today is Wednesday, October 10th and I’m half-way through a complete new draft edit of my WIP. I have some feedback and everything is getting brilliantly real.
Tip My Jar?
If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?