I vote because it’s my ticket to complain about my government. That’s right, I think you don’t get to complain about government or a single lousy politician unless you vote. No whining, not one snide remark for the next four years.
I vote because it’s my civic duty.
I vote because it is the work of living in a democracy. If we don’t step up and say what we want – through the act of selecting people to represent us – then those choices will be made for us by others. We the people silence our own voices when we don’t vote.
I vote because brave women and men before me fought long and hard for the right to vote. What is easy for me to do was not always so. Women went on hunger strikes; blacks demonstrated, were beaten and thrown in jail. My voting honors their sacrifice.
I vote because I believe in no taxation without representation.
I vote because it’s fun. My parents took me with them into the voting booth when I was young – and it was a booth with a curtain and levers that you pulled and a long arm to shift in order to register your choices. Then the curtain opened. I took my own son with me when he was young and showed him how to punch holes in the card by the numbers of candidates we supported. No hanging chads for me – thanks, Ben! And now I tap on the screen and listen as the paper record spools on and on and afterwards collect my bright sticker announcing to all, I Voted.
I vote because every vote matters, every single vote counts. Several years ago a woman I know, Shaunese Teamer, ran for alderman in North Chicago’s 4th ward – and the vote was tied. She won the office as a result of a coin toss! If one more person had voted for Shaunese (or her opponent), the outcome would have been the result of choice, not chance. (Four years later, Shaunese lost the primary by one vote!) Every vote matters.
None of what I have just written is especially compelling, or enlightening. I’ve encountered quite a few people who are disillusioned with government and disappointed in the candidates we have to choose from. Yes, my friends, we get to go to the polls with the candidates we have. But there are stark differences between some of them that will have a profound affect on our state and nation, depending on who wins. Therefore, here are some recommendations for those of you who have not yet voted.
Debra Shore is the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and a supporter of the Our American Voice Program.