Monday, November 5, 2012

My Vote Counts...Right?

It's easy to consider skipping the voting booth when you live in a solidly red or blue state. Here in Texas, if I vote Republican, my vote won't matter because there are plenty of republicans to carry the state. If I vote Democrat, my vote won't matter because there are so few democrats that they stand no chance of carrying the state. So regardless of how I vote, my individual vote doesn't really matter.

Before we moved to Texas I'd been a registered voter in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan. With the exception of the 2004 election in Iowa, since the late 1980's, all three states have gone to the Democrats BUT the races were close. Close enough that I felt like my vote counted, like my vote made a difference.

When we lived in Michigan I would often spend at least part of the afternoon - while the kids were napping (ahhh, the good ole' days, back when the kids actually napped) - watering the lawn, pulling weeds, etc. One summer day a man walked up and introduced himself to me as Yousef Rabhi, candidate for the 11th District of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. I had (still have) no idea what being a member of the 11th District of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners entailed, but I liked Yousef, I liked the way he carried himself, and I liked his vision for our county. And so I voted for him.

Late in the evening on election day, I heard on the news that Yousef won the election. By ONE vote. I was incredibly proud that on that day, for that campaign, and for that candidate, my vote had made a difference.

When I consider not voting, because I'm sick of the politicians and sick of the political parties and convinced my vote doesn't matter, I think about Yousef and head out to the polls.

Check out this video about whether or not your vote (depending on the state in which you live) actually counts when the Electoral College comes into play. This is honestly one of the most interesting videos I've ever watched (I've actually watched it three times, which says a lot considering that I don't pay a lot of attention to things like the Electoral College) - I highly recommend it.

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