Ok, so the conventions are long over and the debates are finally finished, and your newsfeed is slowly returning to engagement and wedding announcements and baby and pet photos instead of 24/7 election coverage and candidate endorsements and attacks. It’s finally (almost) time to head over to the polls and get to voting and get this election over with already! Right? Well, just in case my beloved Oy!sters need a little urging, here are some of the many reasons to make sure you go and vote in election 2012.
This is our future. The recession, Obamacare, a nuclear Iran, education reform, the future of social security, gay marriage, peace in Israel, stem cell research, the conflicts in the Middle East, reproductive choice— these issues are going to define our generation and affect our lives for the rest of our lives. It’s times like this when it’s more important than ever to make sure our voices get heard.
Why wouldn’t you? What do you have to lose? My dad has sat out more presidential elections than I’ve been alive for, but he’s also never, not once, not showed up to the polls on voting day. Even if you can’t bring yourself to vote in the big elections, or feel like your vote won’t matter, there are other races and other candidates even at the very local level, who need your vote.
Don’t be lazy. Finally, if the reasons why you might skip voting on Tuesday have anything to do with not know where your precinct is, what you need to vote, or when to vote, take a few minutes right now to find out. I’ve listed some resources below and above that will answer all your questions and if you’re still in doubt just Google it. Also, if your excuse is that you just won’t have the time Tuesday to make it to the polls, then think again. You can go vote any day between now and the election on November 6. There are more than a dozen precincts where you can vote early in Cook County. I’m heading to the County Clerk’s Main Office at 69 West Washington over lunch today to vote.
Educate yourself. Time and time again I hear from my friends that they aren’t going to vote in an election because they don’t feel like they know enough about the candidates. I don’t know when this became a valid excuse to not vote, but I’m sick of hearing it. Visit the different candidate’s websites, or Facebook pages or Twitter Feeds and read about where they stand on the issues—you can learn a lot in just five minutes. Don’t be afraid to use the internet. Obviously, the internet has a lot of biased and untrue information out there on each candidate, but it’s still a great research tool. And don’t forget about newspapers. Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune run extensive stories and op-eds on all the candidates leading up to the elections.
If that still sounds like too much work, then there is a great new website called isidewith that will do the heavy lifting for you. Just take their presidential election quiz and they will tell you which candidate most lines up with your beliefs.
We live in a Democracy. If none of the above makes you want to run out to the polls, consider this: voting is a privilege you just shouldn’t waste. I know it is cheesy, but we are all lucky to live in a Democracy. We have the freedom to show up at the polls and vote for any candidate we chose with no threat of punishment or negative repercussion. Value your freedom. While it might not be perfect here, we are lucky to be Americans.
Finally, if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain when you don’t like what happens. And what Jew wants their right to complain taken away?
For more information on how to vote and to get educated on the candidates, visit rock the vote. Visit http://www.vote411.org to see who's on your ballot, choose your candidates and print a copy of your "ballot" to take with you to the polls.