Politics: Making Your Vote Count -- for You!

Uncle Sam Wants You (to Vote)

Source

Voter Casts a Paper Ballot

With Election Day coming hard upon us, our thoughts turn to candidates, political parties and issues -- and to insuring we find our way to the polls on Tuesday.

Exercising the privilege of voting helps insure the survival of our democracy, and all of us should feel compelled to fulfill that civic responsibility.

Voter turnout, however, is woefully inadequate in the United States, which falls far behind other democracies, especially in years when there's no presidential election race to inspire -- or inflame -- the electorate.

'They're All Liars'

You often hear people attempting to justify staying at home on Election Day by declaring that their vote "makes no difference" or "they're all the same" or, worse, "they're all liars."

While we all feel that way sometimes, it's certainly counterproductive and unwise to act on such emotions. If you look at it with a level head, you'll soon realize that it's far less likely government will behave as you'd like if you walk away from your responsibility.

When you reach voting age and register to vote, no one tells you how you must vote or even what you should consider in choosing a candidate. Each citizen decides for himself whether he wants to cast his vote in support of a political party and its candidates or for individuals seeking office, regardless of party.

Single Issue Voters

What's most important? A single critical issue, such as abortion, or a series of issues, such as the economy, Social Security, health care, job security or something more personal, like, "Am I doing better now than one, two or four years ago?"

Sure, it's important how we vote. But, in a democracy, it's crucial that we simply cast a ballot. The more ballots cast, the less candidates can use undue influence to affect the outcome of the election.

Two-Party System

I always advocate the two-party system and, thus, believe it is important for the stability of our country to vote either Democratic or Republican. I admit it isn't always easy: Others, of course, vote for what they feel is most important.

I feel strongly that President Clinton is doing a good job and, despite bogus impeachment charges against him, he should remain in office.

For that reason, recent comments by (Connecticut Senators) Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman about the president were disconcerting; they appeared gratuitous and politically inspired. Why would Democrats want to disparage their own party's president when Republicans already are doing a pretty good job of it?

I'm a Democrat, but I'm not always enamored of Democratic candidates. I remain unhappy, for instance, with (Connecticut) Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. I didn't like the way he handled a complaint I once had about the Lotto; also he seems a bit too ambitious.

Vote Your Party

But voting for another party's candidates is counterproductive; any Democrat, even one I'm unhappy with, will vote more to my liking than any Republican.

Unless one of those asteroids decides to show up in the next two days, I'll be at the polls on Tuesday.

Vote Democratic or Republican, or for a write-in or other candidate, but vote!

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Oct. 31, 1998. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. To view my HubPages Profile Click Here

What Is Your Voting Philosophy?

  • I vote a straight ticket for my political party -- Democratic
  • I vote a straight ticket for my political party -- Republican
  • I vote for "the best man/woman" regardless of political party
  • I vote for independent/third party candidates
  • I never vote
  • I only vote if there's a candidate I like
See results without voting

Stand Up Against Voter Suppression: Defend Voter Rights

More by this Author


Comments 12 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Excellent article! I have written in candidates a couple of times and was very satisfied with my contributed vote. 

In 2008, our local university students, in part, plan to write in the name of the University President, a great personality that  does the best for students, faculty and employees as well as the local community. He's never even announced what party he supports - to the people he serves, it doesn't matter.

Thanks for the Hub!

Of course, during one Reagan election, college students wrote in cartoon characters. I don't know how useful that was. lol...


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks, Patty. your local university president must be some guy! Many years ago I wrote in Hubert Humphrey's name, but I was very disappointed when the vote was not counted. As it turned out, back then you could not write in the name of a presidential candidate; instead you were required to write in the name of the state's electors who would then cast their votes in the Electoral College. Later I worked as moderator at the polls in Darien, Conn., and became more familiar with the election laws.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Good hub, William. I did vote in 2000, and will certainly vote in 2008, but I did NOT vote in 2004. After stories and rumors of widespread voter/election fraud (there were 6 incidents perpetrated by Republicans in Oregon alone during 2003 - and those were just the ones who were caught!) and overwhelming evidence of how the presedency was stolen, I absolutely had no hope of there being a fair election process so long as Bush and his cronies were involved. Further strengthening that belief was this piece written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. which appeared in Rolling Stone magazine a couple years ago: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/wa...


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks for the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. link, Constant Walker. I know how frustrating it can be to go to the polls when it's apparent that voter/election fraud is so widespread. The documentation of so much fraud by Republican officials provided in the Kennedy article in Rolling Stone is important, but it is also clear that both the press and the Democratic Party have "totally ignored" it. Al Gore tried to fight it in 2000 but was overruled by the right wingers on the Supreme Court, and John Kerry caved in without a wimper in 2004. Virtually nothing has been done about it, and you have to wonder whether the Democrats will allow the Republicans to steal the 2008 election -- if there is one (a Declaration of Marshal Law by George W. Bush is still not out of the question should he decide to attack Iran and trigger World War III.)


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

PS. I like the views William!

Making your vote really will count as long as people are persuaded, kicked up the butt, or has enough passion to want to vote!!

We as a British nation are a little bit sad when it comes to voting and we(them, not me:) would rather pick up the telephone to vote for there favorite Big Brother winner or Idol than vote for any political party!, and with the state of all our candidates it's pretty hard to choose let alone actually vote!!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

If people don't pay attention to politics,compu-smart, and vote, they will end up with poor leaders -- as we have now in the United States.


Marian Swift profile image

Marian Swift 8 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

Thanks for a great Hub!

I vote, no matter what ... if only to preserve my right to complain.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

William, that's my nightmare, and I can really see the bastard doing just that. I wonder if the Dems will just accept that, too. Or, civil war will break out... in that war, I believe I would take up a gun...


Marian Swift profile image

Marian Swift 8 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

(Grammar correction ... sorry)

Y'know, I've heard that same fear expressed almost everywhere.  And yeah, I share it.  Big time.

I think (hope, beg?) that the widespread and very public nature of this suspicion may serve as a deterrent.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thank you, Marian Swift. I share your hope that public opinion will help deter President Bush from his irresponsible plans.

Constant Walker, unfortunately, the failure of Americans to question the president's past actions tends to make it likely that he will ignore any possible repercussions. The leadership of the Democratic Party, with the exception of a few brave officials, has proved to be ineffective adversaries. It was Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican president, of all people, who warned us of the dangers of the military-industrial complex.


Karen Ellis profile image

Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

I understand your thoughts about a two party system, however, I have been Independent for many years. There have been times that I couldn't make myself vote for the candidate of either party (presidential), and had to vote with a smaller party or a write-in.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

It's the old "lesser of two evils" conundrum, I think. Along with a lot of voter/election fraud, it got George W. Bush elected for a second term in 2004. I sympathize with your position, Karen, but I also know that by staying home or voting for a third party candidate will result in the election of yet another president who will ignore the plight of the average American and, very possibly, take us into another unnecessary war. Your opinions are always welcome.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working