Ya Gotta Vote!!!
No matter how distasteful you find this year’s presidential campaign, it is very important to vote. People often decide that not voting is the way to send a message of distrust and/or indifference, but it is not a message that is easily interpreted and may actually backfire.
Political campaigns do a very sophisticated job of identifying “their voters” and create equally sophisticated and aggressive “get out the vote” efforts. Accordingly, if you are not on their “plus” list, they are pleased that you stayed home because you are not helping their opponent.
Regardless of your feelings about the presidential campaign, there are many other candidates on the ballot for a variety of legislative seats, whether state or municipal, and a variety of executive branch and special district seats as well. Your state may have a highly contested U.S. Senate seat in a year when control of the Senate is hotly contested. Your state may also have important ballot measures that often end up passing or failing with only a small minority of eligible voters participating.
This is also a pivotal year for third party and independent candidates. With heightened attention focused on third parties, in many states a sufficient turnout might give then coveted ballot status in both 2016 and 2020. Just as important, parties can also qualify for Federal matching funding if they attract at least 5% of the popular vote. So, when in doubt, give every consideration to third party and independent candidates.
Many states have also made voting relative easy with early voting. In those states, you are no longer confined to voting on election day and often have a wide range of dates and locations from which to choose. Many states have also created alternative registration methodologies that avoid long lines and limited scheduling. A list of states with flexible registration is found here, some of which are still accepting registration and others which will accept same day registration.
So, no excuses this year. Register. Vote. Make a difference!
By Steve Nemerovski