Voting in the United States is often a painful process. Even in states like Colorado, California and Minnesota where voting is relatively easy, voters need to get registered, find time to get to the polling place or fill out a mail-in ballot, and often wait in long lines at the poll itself to cast their vote. However, just like getting vaccinated, brushing your teeth, or paying bills, there are some things in life that are painful, but are totally worth doing. Here are ten reasons why voting is one of those things.
10) Russians are trying to mess with us. Putin’s goal is instability because the more unstable we are, the better Russia looks in comparison and the more important they become on the world stage. They have been trying to hack into our voter rolls to foment mistrust and if possible actually change the outcome of elections to more Russia-friendly candidates. So why vote? The more eligible people we have voting, the harder it is for any foreign influence to alter the outcome of an election.
9) There are a lot of people who don’t want you to vote. Many conservative politicians recognize that the country is made up of an increasingly progressive voter base. In order to save their jobs, they have implemented voter suppression tactics to keep young people and minorities (the most progressive populations) from voting, including falsely teaching people that their vote doesn’t matter. So why vote? Having people out there that don’t want you to vote should be reason enough to get out and vote.
8) Other people are deciding your future. Voting is easier for those who have done it many times before and so it is natural that our older communities are voting at higher rates than our younger populations. In the last Presidential election, voters over 70 voted at over a 70% rate while voters under 35 voted at under 50%. This creates a serious problem because the future (where only the young voters can go) is being determined by those who won’t be around to participate. This explains why our budget deficits have ballooned, how public education has increasingly become underfunded, and how college has gone from free to anything but in states like California. So why vote? To determine your own future.
7) Special interests are running the show. Politicians are between a rock and a hard place today. When they win an election, even if they have all the best intentions, they have to be partisan to get the backing of their party and special interest dollars in order to get re-elected. This is driving increasingly partisan politics where there is no middle ground for compromise. As voting rates go up, the power of special interests and party politics goes down because politicians know they will be voted out by their constituents showing up at high rates regardless of special interest dollars. So why vote? Voting ensures politicians do their jobs better, and allows them to do their jobs better.
6) Government is dysfunctional and getting worse. The gridlock and inability to get things done has come out of an increasingly partisan system that is moving apart instead of coming together to compromise for the sake of the country. For example 80%+ of the country support DACA and over 60% support stronger gun regulations yet nothing has been done about it because of hyper-partisan politics. So why vote? So we can stop deporting and killing our children for a start.
5) 19% of Americans elected a buffoon as president. Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, this President is not worthy of the role. He is ill informed, surrounds himself with unqualified staff, verifiably lies about everything, works to normalize racism, and is putting the world at significant risk of a nuclear confrontation. This is an anomaly that can only happen with low voting rates. So why vote? If we all vote, this kind of President could never be elected again.
4) Our democracy is at serious risk. As bad as President Trump is, the worst part is the erosion of critical institutions and norms that has taken place since his election. He has conflicts of interest in his business portfolio, pursued unfettered nepotism, colluded with Russia, and attacking the independence of critical democratic institutions like the media and the judiciary simply because they disagree with him. So why vote? If we all vote, we can ensure we have a real democracy left.
3) If you want improvements in your life, you need to elect people who have your back. Want cheaper education? Want stronger gun laws, Want that pothole fixed? Want criminal justice reform? Want lower taxes? Whatever you care about, we need to elect the right people to focus on it. The way to elect the right people is to show up for primaries, vote for the candidate who you are most aligned with, and support them in the general election. So why vote? To get things done that will improve our lives.
2) If you vote, politicians have to work for you. The point of voting is actually not just to elect a winner. The point is that your elected officials know you’re going to vote. If everyone voted, they would have to govern for everyone or lose their job. They would be held accountable. Today, with voting rates at historical lows, all politicians have to do is raise enough money (usually from their party and special interests) to get their base to show up. So why vote? So politicians have to listen and govern for you.
1) Because fuck this. The independence of the judiciary, the FBI, and the free press is being challenged; 18 school shootings in 2018 so far; immigrants getting locked out of our country; DREAMers afraid that ICE is going to break their families up; climate change is being denied; courageous non-partisan leadership is almost non-existent. We need to get our train back on the rails, which means we need new voters who show up and keep showing up. Today over 76 million eligible people still aren’t even registered to vote. To put that in context, Trump won the election with only 63 million votes. So why vote? It’s in our hands — let’s take our country back.