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Our shared history as citizens of the United States of America is one of fiercely defending our freedom and striving for better lives for ourselves and our children. And what binds together us as Americans? I humbly submit that it is our right to vote –our right to freely express our point of view through our elected representatives. Voting is our tool to protect and maintain our freedom to live as we choose. If that is not reason enough for you to vote this November, here are 10 additional reasons:
1. It’s easy. If voting at your polling place on Election Day is going to be difficult, you can request an Illinois absentee ballot for any reason. You have until November 1 to request a ballot by mail and until November 5 for an in-person request. (Click on this link from last month’s blog to request your ballot now).
2. So you can complain with integrity. Many people are angry about our current divisive government. But complaining doesn’t change anything. If you don’t vote, how can you gripe when you don’t like how our government is working? Vote, and give yourself a chance to make a difference.
3. To honor our democracy and those who sacrificed (in some cases, everything) in the battles to win and defend our freedom. Less than half of the world’s population lives under some form of democracy and, even worse, only 15% of countries have a full democracy like we enjoy. Think about:
4. Higher voter turnout makes our democracy more representative and is a counterbalance to the influence of one particular group or of special interests. For example, in 2012, just over 40 percent of young Americans voted while more than 70 percent of seniors—those 65 and older—turned out. If you are young, you may want to vote just to balance out the older voters. If you’re older, you’ll want that balance as well.
5. To vote for good candidates. If we don’t vote for good candidates because we believe they can’t win, then why will good candidates continue to run?
6. To set a good example for your children. If you take your children to the polls, it’s probably more likely that they will vote when they turn 18.
7. If you don’t vote for your own interests, who will? Don’t just presume that you don’t need to vote because others will turn out.
8. Every vote can make a difference. Especially when voting for local officials, the margin between winning and losing can be very small. If a candidate wins by a slim margin, as an officeholder, that man or woman is much more likely to listen to the people and act in their best interests.
9. It is easier than ever to be an educated voter. In this age of network news, 24-hour cable news, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all of the rest of the vast media landscape, it only takes a little effort to learn the positions of your candidates.
10. To protect your money. Federal, state and local governments all have one thing in common—they collect taxes and those we elect decide what taxes you will pay and where the money goes. You may believe that some government expenditures deserve your money while others do not.
As you can see, there are countless reasons to vote and few reasons not to. Get out there on November 6th!