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Refusing to vote, declining to vote, or not being informed enough to vote is a serious wrong. Ever since our high school civics teachers pounded our heads about the right to vote, we all should know this. But apparently we don’t. The turnout in today’s election is estimated at 20 to 30 percent. We’ll see how it turns out – Boise in particular has a hot city council race centered around support of a downtown trolley system – but based on history, that’s probably right. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” is a fundamental concept of democracy and fairness. If you don’t help to plant the seed, pull the weeds, harvest the wheat and bake the bread, no soup for you. The response that there is nobody you want to vote for is acceptable only if you plan to keep your mouth shut about any civic issue that could have been addressed by electing someone else. And if there was nobody else who came close to your views, you can always run for office yourself. When you fail to participate in a democracy, you are turning your vote over to people who don’t have your values and issues in mind – they have their own.

It’s Wrong Not to Vote

Refusing to vote, declining to vote, or not being informed enough to vote is a serious wrong.

Ever since our high school civics teachers pounded our heads about the right to vote, we all should know this. But apparently we don’t.

The turnout in today’s election is estimated at 20 to 30 percent. We’ll see how it turns out – Boise in particular has a hot city council race centered around support of a downtown trolley system – but based on history, that’s probably right.

“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” is a fundamental concept of democracy and fairness. If you don’t help to plant the seed, pull the weeds, harvest the wheat and bake the bread, no soup for you.

The response that there is nobody you want to vote for is acceptable only if you plan to keep your mouth shut about any civic issue that could have been addressed by electing someone else. And if there was nobody else who came close to your views, you can always run for office yourself.

When you fail to participate in a democracy, you are turning your vote over to people who don’t have your values and issues in mind – they have their own.

And not involving kids in the election process, discussing the issues before the election and making sure they know the importance of voting – that veers sharply away from responsible family life.

Here in Idaho, some of our state legislative races are won by fewer than 100 votes –some fewer than 50. An Ada County commission race in the 1996 was won by 77 votes. Former state senator Terry Haun of Emmett won Valley County by one vote in his final election.

Depending on who you believe, Al Gore lost the presidency to George Bush by about 1,000 votes.

Vote. Wear that “I Voted” sticker on your shirt or jacket all day. Tonight, take it off and put it on the family calendar for November 3, to show the kids that it was a special day.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

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2 comments

  1. It took me two minutes. I vote on EVERYTHING! Shredded Wheat or Marshmallow Mateys?

    Who was it, Jill? Stallings…Richard Stallings. If I remember correctly, Stallings won by 197 votes – give or take a few. George Hansen was the opponent, I think.

  2. Politics is war by other means and visa versa. Hell things aren’t really that bad. We’re just one big, extended angry/happy dysfunctional family!!