We just cast our ballots in the mid-term elections here in Las Vegas. It was pretty easy. Early voting venues are available all over the city. In these contentious, divisive political times, it was good news to hear that Las Vegans in Clark County have set a new record for early voting turn-out … the previous record set in 2010 has already been exceeded by more than 10,000 voters.
I remember having to wait until Tuesday, November 6th, always a working day, trying to figure out exactly when I could find time to get to the polls. Now it’s pretty easy, early voting, mail-in voting, absentee voting. We always requested absentee ballots for presidential elections when we were sailing. It was 50/50 whether the ballots made it on time to the requested address. Usually, one of us received a ballot and the other did not even though they were requested at the exact same time with the exact same information. One of us was always gypped.
Clark County did an excellent job of providing sample ballots of all eligible candidates and information … pro and con … on six questions that Nevadans needed to vote on. There was, however, lots of homework for voters. We had to actually read the information that was sent to us and determine what we thought was best for Nevada and us. We also had to research the candidates. Mud-slinging, biased and endless political ads and candidate stumping are not the best resources for determining the best candidates, nor is just political party affiliation. We studied and researched and feel we made valid decisions, then cast our ballots.
I’m put off by folks who assert their ‘rights’ as American citizens, but do not feel the associated responsibilities that come with those rights. An American citizen of voting age not only has the right to vote, they have an obligation. In some countries, Australia comes to mind, it’s a law that registered voters must show up at the polls on voting day. They may decline to vote, but they must show up and check in or there is a fine/penalty imposed. Not sure I agree with this law (nor do I really have a right to comment since I’m not an Australian citizen) … mandates always seem to tramp on our ‘freedoms’ a bit. It does, however, insure that people show up to the polls.
According to Wiki, ‘Voter turnout in the United States fluctuates in national elections. In recent elections, about 60% of the voting eligible population votes during presidential election years, and about 40% votes during midterm elections. Turnout is lower for odd year, primary and local elections.’ In the 2016 Presidential election, ~58% of the eligible voting population bothered to vote. Pretty abysmal numbers considering how important a presidential election is to this country.
Politics is not something that can be discussed with all friends or associates or even family. It certainly has caused some heated moments in our household and we now consider it a ‘no-go’ zone for table conversation. We shy away from any political commentary on our blog. We feel that it’s an inappropriate venue for spouting our political beliefs. We save it for the voting booth. That said, though I’d prefer everyone agree with me and vote the way I vote (of course, I would), it’s more important that everyone exercises their right to vote. So … if you haven’t yet, get off your duff and get out there and vote.