Vote – because you can

Published 8:32 pm Monday, August 25, 2008

Today, three Marengo County communities will select their mayor and city council members. The chances are very good that if you are reading this article, you are registered to vote in one of these elections.

Hopefully, you will take advantage of that privilege and vote.

The Demopolis Times works hard to remain neutral in general elections, and it is difficult sometimes to maintain the appearance of a neutral stance when candidates do newsworthy things around election time.

Email newsletter signup

However, it is not our job to influence how you vote. Your vote represents your opinion on how things are done in your city, county, state and nation, and it says who you want to represent you in the affairs of those offices. Your vote should not represent my opinion or anyone else’s.

I may provide information about a candidate that I like or don’t like, and you may use that information to help decide who you would vote for, but when the voting booth curtain is drawn, ultimately, you are voting for your own needs and feelings, which are likely to be different from mine or anyone else’s.

I want you to vote to play a part in who serves in the offices that affect you. I feel that if you don’t vote in the election, you may gripe about the way things are run, but you don’t have much of a leg to stand on. Even if the elected person won by a thousand votes, you may think that your one vote wouldn’t have made a difference, but at least you can say that you didn’t vote for the person you’re fussing about. Sure, you can say the same thing if you don’t vote at all, but if you don’t vote, then apparently, the issue wasn’t that important to you anyway.

Whether you vote for the winner or the loser, what matters is that you cast your ballot and made your decision known, entering it into the governmental equation. It doesn’t matter if you vote for the person who seems the most popular or is a virtual unknown. What matters is that you vote for whomever you want, walking away from the booth satisfied that you did your part and are happy with whomever you voted for. You voted for this person because they best represented your values and needs. You played your part in the way government runs.

The biggest fallacy I hear around election time is “My vote doesn’t matter.” It is the one time when it means something to be an American citizen to take part in the process to choose your civic leaders, from the local city council district representative up to the President of the United States. You are a part of one of the oldest and greatest democracies on the planet. What a waste not to take part in it.

David Snow is the news editor of the Demopolis Times.