As Election Day approaches, (Tuesday, November 4) I started to wonder how many people really vote. I started asking some people and to my surprise I had finally finished this list before I found a single person that votes. So the results weren’t too great when it came to seeing how many people really vote. The next thing I wanted to find out was, “why aren’t people voting?”
So here’s my list on the 7 most popular reasons YOU don’t vote.
***If you do vote, congratulations and thank you! Please pass this on to a friend that doesn’t vote.
1. My vote won’t matter.
The first reason that a lot of people say is, “Everyone else can vote for me. Whatever my decision is, the rest of the population can vote on it for me. My vote won’t even matter. The election never comes down to just 1 vote. It’s all about the majority anyway.” Well here are a few examples of when 1 vote really did matter. Ironically, even the decision for whether women should be allowed to vote came down to one vote. People throughout history have fought for you right to vote, USE IT!
2. No time.
A lot of people say they have no time to vote. Although if time is money, your skipping out on voting will cost you more money in the long run. At a time where many current day politicians, propositions, and policies influence things like rising higher education costs, student loan policies, and economic policies, skipping out on voting will definitely cost you more in the long run than the short time it will take you to vote. This is especially true when California’s public universities have the highest average tuition and college costs increase, at 21%, than any other state. Public colleges in Washington and Arizona even had high tuition increases at 16%-17%. And more than 56% of students graduate with student debt with the average starting debt amount at $22,000-28,000 dollars. So trust me when I say, “the decisions we’re voting on today, will affect the world around you tomorrow.”
Is that extra 30 minutes out of your day that it takes to vote and the time it takes to read up on new measures really worth the 21% tuition increase and $22k in debt? I don’t think so.
Did you know that you can also get up to 2 hours Paid Time Off at work to go out and vote? And you’re still being paid for it! You’re protected by law to exercise your right to vote! And if you really don’t have time on election day, they accept mail-in absentee ballots by November 4.
3. I don’t know how.
The next answer I heard a lot was that people just don’t know how. Or that they never registered. Really? Our generation can learn how to drive a car, work an I-phone, and even learn to use Google, but we can’t figure out how to vote or register? You’re 18+ years old… if you can figure out how to buy a lotto ticket, how to light a cigarette, pay penny slots at the casino, and how to give consent for sexual acts… then you’re definitely smart enough find out how to vote.
Another great idea is to ask your parents to take you or go with a friend that has voted before. It’s even a good idea to go with a friend that hasn’t voted before and you can both make it a fun adventure :)
4. Our government is bought anyway.
I’m glad that by now people understand that our government is bought. Yes, politicians do act first for the corporations or people that fund them and help donate to their re-election campaigns. (But, don’t forget that politicians, police, and other government officials were put in office by and for the people, and we have the right to take that away from them at any time.) But at the same time, not every politician is bought. There are still numerous amounts of city council members, school board members, mayors, governors, and more that really do care about the systems that we’re putting in place for our communities. There are politicians trying to get money out of politics, make things more transparent, and even work for things that may go against their personal views. But it’s our job to vote them in and make sure that we’re accountable for our own government and policies.
And even if politicians are bought, we still have the ability to vote on many propositions and policies that will go into law and affect us each and every single day, which are some of the very important things you should be reading up on.
5. It’s too far. I’m too lazy.
The next response I got was, “It’s too far. I’m too lazy.” Honestly, your nearest voting location is probably within 3-5 minutes from you. Take a friend with you, trust me it will be less of a hassle with a friend. :)
But again, remember how I mentioned that you can leave work on the clock of up to 2 hours still getting paid for it?
If at this point you’re still too lazy, refer to reason #2 above and remember the 21% college costs increase and the $22,000+ average in college debt you’ll have to work off when it comes to you being lazy. I wonder how many of hours that will affect your lazy ass.
But really… if you’re still too lazy… if you’re ever in an argument over the following or just want to complain or say our government is bought, Obama sucks, Congress can’t work together, tuition increased again, college debt is piling, not enough jobs out there, traffic sucks, taxes are too high, the economy is terrible, why marijuana is still criminalized or any of the other things that affect us on a daily basis suck, please don’t bother to say a single word about any of these topics if you can’t even practice the most basic right that you have when it comes down to these systems that affect us all. Simply put, VOTE or shut up!
6. I don’t know what I’m voting on anyway. Not enough information on the ballots.
If this is your answer refer to my response for reason #3 again.
When you go to vote, they have quick break downs on what you’re voting for. But, they also send you voter information guides in the mail weeks in advance. These guides give you a breakdown of what you’re voting on and the pros and cons of each. If there still isn’t enough information in that, you’re honestly still getting the same amount of information as most voters out there. The only way to get more information is to do the research yourself and fully look into each matter, which I highly recommend. You’ll never know the full extent on what you’re voting on unless you go and read the fine print anyway. But at the end of the day, your highly educated guess and personal opinion on what you’re voting for is what is valued most.
Of course, there also the glimpse of 30-second radio and TV commercials that you will overhear too. Some help, others are misleading, but again use your best educated guess to make your vote count.
7. I don’t care.
This was the number one response that I got from people. And at the end of the day, after all these reasons, it comes down to one basic reason. I don’t care. If you let any of these reasons get in your way of voting, the only real reason at the end of the day is that you don’t care enough about it to do anything about it.
A good friend and Collective Lifestyle Editor, Kevin Laparan, has a theory that states, “A lot of people care about the world, but not enough to do anything about it.” We all post about political issues, jokes, politicians, on Facebook every day, but at the end of the day we won’t make a small sacrifice of 30 minutes to go out and vote or a couple hours to do the research.
The unfortunate reality is that the millennial generation, with more than 75 million of us in numbers, a huge majority of the potential voting population, does not vote. To be honest, our local, state, and national governments aren’t perfect. Neither are we. But in order for a government to operate correctly, it needs people to operate for. More importantly, it needs the voting population to voice their needs so that they can be taken care of. If the millennial generation does vote in large numbers, we have the ability to swing the vote on every election.
A generation or two somewhere down the line may have also voted or not voted, which eventually got us into our current status in time. Our parents and grandparents all voted on issues that are affecting our generation and future generations in both positive and negative ways. Whether your consider today’s governmental status a fail or a success, it all happened because people either voted or people didn’t vote. So it’s up to you… Election Day is November 4.