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Please Vote

Please vote.

Please make sure you’re registered to vote by going to Gottavote.com and clicking on your state.  The site is run by the Obama campaign, but you do not need to be a Democrat to use it.  In the spirit of fairness, if Romney’s campaign had a comparable website created to ensure that every person in America could vote, I would link to it too.  But they don’t.  So, Romney people, if you create one to make sure that all people are able to vote (and this offer goes to every other candidate for president), let me know and I’ll link to it*.

If you’re not registered to vote, please register to vote.  You can go to Gottaregister.com, which is an open voter registration site run by the Obama campaign (again, if there was anything like it out there for the other candidates, I’d link to theirs too).

Once you know you’re registered to vote, go to your state on Gottavote.com and see if you have early voting (which will ensure that you’re not scrambling to vote on Election Day).  Look and see what you need to bring with you to the polls.  Find out what time the polls open and close in your area.

Which brings us back to that simple request at the top of this post: please vote.

It’s something we get jaded about, that we sometimes think of as a burden, that we think doesn’t matter, that feels like a waste of time, that we take for granted.  Do it anyway.  It is a tool you have right now to get your voice heard; don’t throw it away.  And no, I’m not going to guilt you by pointing out all the places in the world where people are fighting for the right to vote — a right you have.  Instead, I am simply going to implore you, in my big girl voice, in the most serious tone one can muster when they are writing this at the kitchen table in lime green sweatpants and a mismatched greyish blue March of Dimes sweatshirt.

Please vote.

Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day in the United States (apologies to all outside the US).  You’re going to hear this message a lot in the next 24 hours (the “please vote” part; not the apology to all outside the US).  Please don’t tune it out.  Regardless of your political affiliation, please take the time to educate yourself and make the commitment to vote.

I’ll see you at the polls**.

Okay, I know that I said I wouldn’t guilt you, but as you go through late October when early voting begins until we hit the time the polls close on November 6th, I want you to imagine me hovering behind you as you go about your day, breathing on your neck as you try to read the nutritional information on a label in the food store, staring at you while you try to type a blog post, lying in bed between you and your partner, turning my head from side to side so I can give both of you my guilt-inducing look.  All the while, a single request on my lips that will haunt you until the election is over.

Please vote.

* But in my very biased opinion, the fact that you don’t have something comparable out there speaks volumes.

** I probably won’t see you at the polls unless you live in my neighbourhood.  And even then, I’ll only see you if we go at the same time.  And even then, once we disappear into those tiny polling booths, we won’t really be able to see each other.  But I’ll figuratively see you at the polls.


1 Christa Singleton { 09.24.12 at 9:34 pm }

I’m 31 years old and this is actually my first year I’ll be voting. Very excited about it! Election Day also happens to be my husband’s 30th birthday, which we’ll be spending in NYC attending Stephen Colbert’s live taping! I’m looking forward to seeing the results of the election during the show

2 Bea { 09.24.12 at 9:37 pm }

I am going to guilt you by pointing out that politicians form policies directed at demographic groups, and how can you expect them to care about groups which don’t vote? If you don’t vote you let down everyone in your demographic group who did vote, but their vote won’t be heard because you didn’t add yours to it. (This is why I support compulsory voting, but in the absence of that I support guilting 🙂 .)

3 a { 09.24.12 at 9:48 pm }

I work for the state, so we get election day off. But I will probably still drag my daughter to the polls with me, so she can get some idea of how important it is to vote. Since my husband can’t be bothered, she won’t get it from him. Make sure and reserve one of your penetrating stares for him…what I’ve been saying for over 10 years has made no difference.

4 loribeth { 09.24.12 at 9:59 pm }

I’ll admit my municipal voting record is a bit spotty, but I’ve never missed a (Canadian) federal or provincial election. My mother always drummed the importance of voting into me. I think it’s because she couldn’t vote for decades. She was an American who got married & moved to Canada at age 19 when the voting age was 21. As a landed immigrant, she couldn’t vote in Canada. She finally decided to get her citizenship about 20 years ago, & that was a major reason why — she was so excited the first time she got to vote, at age 50-something — it was cute. : ) She is sufficiently concerned about this year’s U.S. election that she is thinking of investigating how to cast an absentee ballot there too.

5 geochick { 09.24.12 at 10:24 pm }

We get mail-in ballots in our state, it’s made voting so much easier. You know, when I remember to fill it out and send it in on time. Otherwise, I’ll figuratively see you at the polls on Election Day too. 🙂

6 persnickety { 09.25.12 at 12:34 am }

The first year I was allowed to vote in the US(which was not a presidential election year) there wsa a ballot initiave agains civil unions for homosexuals in the town where i went to collge (the city council had passed an ordinance setting them up and the local opposition got enough signatures to take it to a vote). It was a PITA to get to the voting booth from the campus, but I went anyway (my parents didn’t get the right to vote until I was in jr high, so they valued it) and voted. Another girl in my dorm opted out because she didn’t want to wait for the shuttle that would get us there. She was horrified when the resolution to ban civil unions succeeded (by less than 100 votes) because she had assumed that of course it would be voted against and that her vote didn’t count.

It’s my cautionary tale for those who would not vote and my explanation to puzzled Australians about the crazy US elections.
Australia has compulsory voting. If I fail to vote I pay a fine. Sometimes I see this as very positive- it means that the government does reflect the voting population. On the other hand, I worked as an election worker last federal election and the young idiots who came to my booth made me despair for the country, but they had the opportunity (resented though it was) to have their say in who would lead the country.
Anyway- the point of the ramble was that voting is important. It’s not really ever discussed much in the US- in history or civics classes, but if you are not a white, property owning male, people died to ensure that you had the right to vote. We talk all the time about how important certain rights are, and how the freedom of speech and to elect those who make our taxes, and to be “free” were so important that we became a country but no-one ever draws the paralells and points out that people died for that right to vote.
stepping off soapbox now

7 Mary { 09.25.12 at 7:22 am }

I’m not sure I can vote in this presidential election. Not because I am not registered, but because I don’t particularly like either choice very much. But I go back and forth, because there’s really only one issue I really don’t like Obama on, whereas I can’t stand Romney on any issues, and I don’t trust him. Sigh. But I’ll show up to the polls because I want my son to understand that my choice to go and not vote on that particular election is still a better one than throwing away my choice on all of them. And I hear a lot of people saying they won’t bother to vote at all because they can’t pick a president.

8 Carla { 09.25.12 at 7:45 am }

Thank you for this post! If I could ask you to write another one, it would be imloring people not only to vote, but to educate themselves about the candidates beforehand. I work in finance, and a big part of my job is taking separate facts that several people give me and putting them together and doing additional research to see what the big picture really is. As the election gets closer, I see more and more ads, etc., from both sides, touting one fact or another about taxes, unemployment, the economy, whatever. And taken alone, that one fact makes their position look great! But when you take that fact out of the context in which it was presented and find out what the whole story is, you may very well find that you completely disagree with their position. Like Mary, I’ve also heard many people say they won’t bother to vote at all. I want to make them sit down and listen to Michael Douglas at the end of The American President, when he gives the press conference about America being advanced citizenship—you’ve got to want it.

9 Elizabeth { 09.25.12 at 10:10 am }

Getting our absentee ballots since we’ll be out of the country on Election Day.

10 Mud Hut Mama { 09.25.12 at 2:14 pm }

One of your last posts reminded me to organize my absentee ballot. Can’t believe how easy it was – I think they’ve changed it since last time because I felt like it was going to be a real pain but so very simple! Now I just gotta remember to mail it in!!

11 Manapan { 09.27.12 at 10:03 pm }

I’ve still decided against voting. But my husband finally remembered to register thanks to you!

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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