It’s Election Day. You know what that means. Vote.
If simply doing your civic duty isn’t enough to get you to the polls, consider these 15 other reasons why having your voice heard -- and counted -- is so important.
1. It’s all about you, baby Voting is about taking responsibility. Why would you want someone else deciding what’s best for you?
2. Vote to complainIf you don’t vote, you have absolutely no grounds to complain about the idiocy that goes on in Washington.
3. Vote for justice Four of the nine Justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in their 70s. What if one or more of them becomes seriously ill, dies, or simply wants to retire? The next President could conceivably appoint four new Justices.
4. Honor our sisters in New Zealand In 1893, New Zealand became the first of the modern, presently-independent countries to allow women to vote. (Some, but not all, Swedish women were able to vote earlier). It took 27 more years for the United States to get its act together, passing the 19th Amendment in 1920.
5. Cancel out that blockhead’s vote On the opposite side of the political fence from your neighbor, boss, or even spouse? Make sure you cancel out their vote by casting yours.
6. Every vote matters Fine, it’s a cliché. But the 2000 Presidential election was decided by a mere handful of votes in Florida, relatively speaking. Rich, poor, young, old -- your vote is as good as anyone else’s. Just make sure you mark the ballot correctly!
7. Show ‘em what Wyoming is made of If you live in Wyoming, or any of a few other sparsely populated states, your vote has more clout than you might think. Once you start doing the math, it gets a little weird. About 568,158 people live in Wyoming. The state has three electoral votes, or one for every 189,932 people. Compare that to California: Even though it has 55 electoral votes, it has almost 38 million people. That means it takes 3.6 Californians to wield the same electoral might as one person from Wyoming. If you’re from California, that’s a drag. If you’re from Wyoming, you really ought to vote.
8. Bust the stereotypes If you’re between the ages of 18 and 25, then the pundits say you don’t care about the elections. Prove them wrong! Similarly: The younger you are, the longer you will have to live with the consequences of this election. Think about it.
9. Look to the future This election will lead to life-changing decisions about healthcare, education, women’s rights, fairness in hiring, equal pay, social security and Medicare. Again, why would you want someone else deciding any of these things for you?
10. What’s in your backyard? Local races for school board and city council seats directly affect your pocketbook, your life, and the lives of your family.
11. California needs you! Obviously, to make up for the disparity in the electoral college between states such as California, New York and Texas and those with smaller populations, every single Californian should really go to the polls. (As well as New Yorkers and Texans!)
12. Follow the money The President, members of Congress, governors and a host of other politicos decide how much of your tax dollar will be invested in public services, or not, and how much of a burden taxpayers should shoulder.
13. Take a stand for your kids The local and state school board members set public education policy and have sway over the budget. Who do you want making those decisions for your kids?
14. Be Jersey proud New Jersey was the first state to grant some women -- those who owned property but were not married -- the right to vote, back in 1776. The oh-so-enlightened state legislature put an end to this in 1807.
15. Vote because you can Not every government allows its citizens, or its women, to vote. Women weren’t able to vote in the U.S. until 1920 -- more than 70 years after a group of activists led by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton argued that American women deserved equal rights under the law. As this public service announcement notes, women make up half the population yet hold only 17 percent of the seats in Congress. An estimated 10 million more women than men will vote in this election. Please, be one of them. -- Connie Guglielmo and Kimberly Weisul
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Photo courtesy of One Thing New subscriber Monica Sarkar