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Shocking News (to Some): There are More Reasons to Vote Than the Presidency

Updated on June 10, 2015
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There is a debate going on in American about whether voting really matters. Many suggest we not vote at all, that it’s a waste of time and doesn’t make a difference. If voting is a waste of time, how about that 4 hours daily watching television or the two hours a day online the average American spends? Facebook users spend, on average, over six hours a month on the social network. Perhaps if Americans made voting a priority, they might learn that sometimes, voting is worth it.

The problem with the logic of people like George Carlin is that they refer to, or think of, voting as only a presidential race. However, there are other things to vote for. We can vote for school board members, state legislators, judges, police chiefs, governors, lieutenant governors, county commissioners, city councils, mayors, senators, representatives, and presidents (among other offices). Then why do people always mention the presidential race when talking about why they don’t vote? I have some news for you: when you vote, you can skip the presidential race and vote for other offices, i.e. your favorite local council person. I, for one, will not promote the presidential race as a real choice. I may even leave that selection blank when I vote in November.

Then there are state and local propositions to vote for. Certainly, if you don’t care about marijuana laws, taxes, gay marriage, civil rights, immigration laws, education, zoning laws, legislative salaries or any other local issues, then don’t vote. If you care at all, perhaps you can take an hour off your television or online time and read about the propositions and then vote.

Many self described anarchists and political outsiders confuse our political and electoral system with voting itself. It’s not voting that is the problem; the problem is our two party monopoly that limits our choices. Multi-party elections with proportional representation have higher voter turnout than a two party monopoly that limits your electoral choices. We like choices in the U.S., but when we go to vote, we have two flavors to choose from: vanilla and vanilla bean.

I was not happy that my choice for the House of Representatives in the June special election was between corporodem Ron Barber and Tea Party wing-nut Jesse Kelly. I voted for Barber, not because I support him 100%, but because I have met him and at least he’s someone I can talk to about issues. Unlike Tea Party candidates, Rep. Barber lives on planet earth. However, both candidates are pro-coporate, and I had no pro-labor choice to vote for. And if you are a Libertarian or Green party member, you're out of luck. If we had more viable choices of candidates and parties, perhaps fewer people would gripe about voting.

If voting is irrelevant, why are Republicans passing laws that restrict the right to vote?

Republicans, who supposedly want smaller government, pass laws that force people to get government issued photo ID’s to vote. The justification for this is that they want to prevent voter fraud. However, this fraud only exists in the fantasy lands of Republicans. For example, “UFO sightings are 3,615 times more common than instances of voter fraud.” Moreover, in ten years, there were only 13 credible accounts of voter fraud. And since 1997, Republican groups found 311 cases, out of some 593 millions votes cast, of fraud, a rate of 0.00005%.

Voter fraud isn’t the problem; vote suppression is. Republicans want to use voter ID laws to win elections. As Representative Mike Tuzai, PA. admits, “Voted ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” Voter ID laws target poor, minority, and college voters. These groups vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Passing ID laws is not about addressing fraud, as Republicans fraudulently claim, these laws are about suppressing Democratic votes and thus winning elections.

In Texas, a gun holder's ID is acceptable to vote, but NOT a student ID. College students just happen to be more democratic than NRA members. And in the U.S., 21 million eligible voters lack photo IDs. That could swing the vote to Romney if those laws stand. Whether you vote or not, you should at least have the option.

A Mother Jones’ article states that 1,000 bills to increase voting restrictions have been proposed in 46 states in the last few years. Not surprisingly, many of these laws target voting in the swing states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The right to vote is being taken from more than 5 million voters according to the article, and “…the states that have passed restrictive voting laws account for 214 electoral votes, nearly 80 percent of what is needed” to be elected president. Ironically, voting rights are being restricted by the Republican Party that swears they defend the constitution.

In Pennsylvania, 760,000 voters don’t have Department of Transportation IDs that the state requires to vote. And IDs cost money to obtain. This amounts to a poll tax, which is illegal. The story is similar in Texas, “"Even after submitting data that show over 600,000 registered voters do not have either a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by DPS – and that a disproportionate share of those registered voters are Hispanic – the state has failed to propose, much less adopt, any program for individuals who have to travel a significant distance to a DPS office, who have limited access to transportation, or who are unable to get to a DPS office during their hours of operation," Perez wrote.”

Even if you don’t vote, people should have that right. And if you feel your side never wins in an election, and your proposition always loses, then don’t vote. That means my vote is worth more. I thank you in advance.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Dave:

      1. You are looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

      2. You are using example that have nothing to do with voting. Buying a lap top is not a right in the Constituion, and neither is driving, but voting is. They are different things.

      3. This hub is NOT hysterical unless you think stating facts is hysterical.

      Thanks.

      PTxS

    • Davesworld profile image

      Davesworld 5 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

      Went to the local electronics store and bought a new lap top a few months ago. Took out my VISA card but that wasn't enough. I had to show photo Id. (I also got a phone call later that night from the credit card company because that size charge was unusual for me, but that's another story.) Police stopped me to warn me one of my front headlights was out - had to show photo Id. I've voted in every election since 1970, if I now need a photo Id it's no big deal since I need one for lots of other things as well.

      Texas intends to provide them FREE so I'm having trouble equating "free" with "tax."

      Why allow student Ids. I can easily go get one by registering at the local community college. If I'm creative, I could register a different address and then be able to vote twice. Meanwhile, if restricted to a state issued Id I can't do that. FWIW, my son did not get a driver's license until he was 21. Prior to that he had a state issued photo Id because he found that he needed it to transact routine business.

      Obtaining a photo id is not impossible nor is it a major imposition. Nor have I ever found anything other than hysterics (this Hub being no exception) as to why it is such a bad idea.

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      If you read the attached articles, there is evidence that it is not so easy for everyone to get a photo ID. And now, those who have voted for years now need one. Why? Couldn't these laws have grandfathered them in and only required new voters to get the ID. And WHY NOT allow student IDs?

      http://thedailycougar.com/2012/07/11/voter-id-laws...

      PTxS

    • Davesworld profile image

      Davesworld 5 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

      Since having a photo Id seems to be a requirement for just about everything else in American life, I fail to see anything other than hysteria that suggests that failure to possess one will disenfranchise anyone. BTW, if you want to go to Washington D.C. and talk to Attorney General Eric Holder in person about this, or any other issue, be prepared to show a photo Id since you can't get into the building without one.

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Thanks!

      PTxS

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      The fraud found is 311 out of 513 million votes. So, you would rather disenfranchise millions of voters, which could radically change the elections, than have one fraudulent vote, which is an anomaly and will not affect the results of an election. You do realize that hundreds of thousands of people in Texas and Pennsylvania don't have ID and the cost to get one is an illegal poll tax and not everyone can get one. Why not accept student IDs then?

      One is NOT too many compared to thousand no longer being able to vote. But if eliminating people from voting rolls to prevent the possibility of one fraudulent vote getting through, maybe, so be it. That's an easy position for you to take, but for those that are being disenfranchised, it's another story.

      PTxS

    • Davesworld profile image

      Davesworld 5 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

      I fail to understand the hubub over voter Id requirements. You need a photo Id to board an airplane, cash a check, use a credit card (for a large purchase), rent a car, borrow money from a bank for any purpose, have a document notorized, and so forth and so on. I don't care if only ONE fraudulent vote was cast in the 2010 elections, it was ONE TOO MANY.

    • Bob Zermop profile image

      Bob Zermop 5 years ago from California, USA

      Another great hub, texshelters! Keep it up.