When it’s time to vote again, it’s easy to come up with reasons not to go to the polls. “I’m too busy. I don’t know where to send my ballot.” Or this one, repeated over and over by people across America: “My vote doesn’t count, so what’s the point?”
Learn more about the voting process and how to register at the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.
1. You get to complain all you want. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain (and we’re all pretty good at complaining). Do you feel strongly about taxes, your health care or the size of our military? If these or other issues matter to you, then your vote matters, too. If you don’t head to the polls or send in your absentee ballot, you don’t get to yell at the TV later on.
2. Vote ratios matter. Even if you live in a state that swings one way or another, the ratio by which the candidates win or lose matters. A landslide win makes for a more powerful politician than one who barely squeaks by. Your vote can either help keep that power in check or give it an extra boost.
3. The pollsters might be wrong. It’s easy to get discouraged about voting if you listen to the media’s predictions. But if you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to know the media can get things wrong.
4. You’re only one person, but so is everybody else who votes. If millions of people stay home because they think their votes don’t count, the people who do turn out to vote become much more powerful. Are their voices really more important than yours? Your vote is your voice. Elect to be heard.
5. Your vote always counts.Not just in close elections. In every election. Remember #4? Your vote counts the same as every other individual who votes. Just make sure you send your ballot back by your state’s deadline!
6. You can vote from literally anywhere in the world. Vote by absentee ballot when you’re deployed or away from your polling location and the same goes for your spouse and any eligible family members. If the process seems overwhelming and confusing, contact your voting assistance officer for help, or call 1-800-438-VOTE.
7. You don’t have to be an expert on the issues to cast your vote. There’s no need to pull an all-nighter before sending in your vote. You won’t be graded.
8. You’re part of the military family. Elected officials make decisions about many things that affect you, including military benefits. It’s your life — make your voice heard.
9. You live in a democracy. Voting is one of your most precious American rights. Enough said.