Letter To The Editor: Your Vote Counts

By JODY BENSON
League of Women Voters

As we registered voters at the Farmer’s Market and LAHS, I was not shocked exactly, but more, disappointed that too many people stated that they never vote because (1) they hate the candidates, (2) they don’t know the candidates or the issues, or (3) it doesn’t matter. They did not register. Now they don’t have the option.

The first opinion is personal, and therefore inarguable. But (2) and (3) are destructively untrue.

First, if you’re not voting because you don’t know the candidates or the issues, you can learn. We all have values that we want actualized, and in a “representative” democracy, we choose candidates who best “represent” those values and will thus champion them for the community. If you don’t know who will represent your values, the League of Women Voters Los Alamos (LWVLA) has an online Voter Guide with candidate responses to important questions.

If you want to assess the candidates by watching their interactions with a live audience, you can watch the two LWVLA Candidate Forums. This information is on the LWVLA webpage at http://www.lwvlosalamos.org/elections.html. If you hate the Presidential candidates, you can skip voting for any one of the eight Presidential candidates on the ballot—local elections are equally critical.

The belief that your vote doesn’t count is utterly and hideously misinformed. If your vote didn’t count, why are PACs spending millions and millions of dollars to either dissuade you from voting for a particular candidate, or to disgust you so much that you don’t vote at all? Why are many states developing laws to restrict particular communities from voting? Your not voting means a lot to somebody.

The vote is the one equalizer that Americans have. Your vote counts as much as mine, as much as Charles Koch’s, Mark Zuckerberg’s, or Paul Ryan’s. It can change the outcome of a Presidential election—in 2000, Bush was elected to the Presidency by winning Florida with only 537 votes. Your vote counts. Your vote can change history. Americans have died for the vote. You need to vote. Vote.

Tuesday, Nov. 8, is the general election with voting 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Los Alamos County Municipal Building and the Los Alamos Golf Course, and at the White Rock Branch Library. Your absentee ballot is due back to the County Clerk by 7 p.m. Nov. 8. Early voting at the Municipal Building in Los Alamos and the White Rock Branch Library is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday/Friday, and ends10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday. It’s more convenient to vote early so you don’t get discouraged by long lines on Election Day. Don’t get discouraged. Because your vote counts. Vote.

For specific information and a sample ballot, visit: http://www.losalamosnm.us/clerk/Pages/Elections.aspx.

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