We are only a couple of weeks away from the most important civic duty of all U.S. Citizens, choosing out next president. But it bothers me that so many people are taking the wrong approach to this task. Far too many of you seem to think that your job is to vote for the winning candidate.
“If my candidate loses, then I have wasted my vote,” is a common comment.
Look, it is not our job to vote for the winner. It is our job to vote for the person who most accurately reflects our opinion, whatever that might be. If you vote for a candidate simply because you think that candidate has the best chance of winning, then you are throwing away your vote. If you vote against some candidate rather than voting for him or her, you are wasting your vote.
Your job, as a voter, is to learn as much as you can about all the candidates, even the minor candidates, then vote for the one who most accurately reflects your ideas and opinions. When you go to the polls and check off your preferred candidates, you are making your opinions known. If your choices are independent or third party candidates, you are still expressing your opinion, and if your opinions have enough support, then the winners should take their ideas into consideration. And if they get a strong enough vote, their positions will become a factor in the next election.
When you vote your opinions, you are giving your ideas a chance to be heard. No vote is ever wasted as long as it is your true opinion.
Now, a negative vote is valid. If you are so concerned that a candidate’s ideas are dangerous and will damage our nation, then it is a valid decision to vote against that person and for their opponent. Hopefully they will have an opponent that you can agree with, but if not, picking the less of two evils is a legitimate choice.
Finally, staying home and not voting at all is a bad decision. If you allow a candidate to take office simply because you chose not to vote will almost always end up putting an irresponsible person in office.
Finding information about the candidates so that you can make an informed decision is not that difficult. There are plenty of sources for determining their opinions. Local candidates often take part in candidate forums in which they are asked their opinion about local issues. The national candidates always have a series of debates during which you can learn much about their character, temperament and their grasp of national issues.
So research the candidates. Listen to their statements in their commercials or in the debates. See how they respond to pressures of the campaign. Then pick the candidates you find most accurately reflect your opinion, and vote for them.
You are a key part of our election process. Please do your part.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgillispie.com/gillispieonline.
I just want to know why our county does't have a paper print out at the E-Voting Machine. How do I know my vote really even went the way I voted. This is something that should be looked into and changed very soon.