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What You’re Voting For If You Don’t Vote – And How to Take Your Power Back!

I was so excited when I turned 18 and was finally able to vote. I was full of youthful optimism and the innocent patriotism of someone who hasn’t yet seen the dark side of politics. I was convinced that Bill Clinton was the coolest guy ever and I believed every campaign promise, every inspiring word. Then the whole Monica Lewinski thing blew up and I got a harsh reality check. Yeah.

I looked for someone new to believe in, but everywhere I looked I was disappointed. I had always turned my nose up at those people who didn’t vote, the cynics who “threw their vote away” and had no hope or patriotism left, who had been worn down by the harshness of the world. But as time went on, I began to rethink this judgment, to sympathize with their plight.

What was I supposed to do when I didn’t like any of the candidates that I had to choose from on the ballot? Which was worse – voting for someone I didn’t really want, or not voting at all?

After struggling with this question for many years, I finally discovered a solution that allows me to vote with integrity no matter who the candidates are.

The Powerful Protest Vote

First I had to acknowledge this reality: There’s no such thing as not voting.

Even if you don’t cast your ballot, you’re still voting for something: That you’re fine with whatever other people decide to do. Other people who decide to vote, even in ignorance. The people with power they want to keep. The people whose voice is louder than yours.

But are those really the people you want making decisions for you? Do you trust their intentions, their wisdom, their sense of fair play, their common sense? If the answer is no, then you need to vote for someone else.

I get it though — if you’re not voting, there’s a reason.

i-voted-for-santaMaybe you don’t like any of the candidates and don’t want to endorse them with your vote. Fair enough. So don’t vote for any of the people running.

You can write in any name you want on the ballot. Write in the name of a person who you believe would do an excellent job in the role. Heck, write in your own name if you think you would do better than the other candidates, even if you wouldn’t take the job if they offered it to you. You can write in the name of a fictional character, a respected person long dead, any name that represents the kind of person you would like to have in office.

Some might argue that you’re throwing your vote away with this strategy. But if you weren’t voting then you were already doing that anyway, only worse — by not voting you were silently endorsing the status quo.

The point in this case isn’t that your candidate is going to win. The point is to vote your intention. Let your write-in be your voice in the ear of the universe that says, “This is the kind of person I want to vote for.” And maybe, in the future, the universe will respond with a candidate that you actually do want to vote for, who can win.

The Easiest Way to Vote

Maybe you’re not voting because it’s just too inconvenient. You’ve got work, family, obligations, important places you’ve got to be on election day. Lucky for you, there’s voting by mail.

A month before each election I’m eligible to vote for, I get a ballot in the mail. This gives me plenty of time to review what’s on the ballot, research the candidates and propositions, and fill out my ballot. Then all I have to do is drop in into the mailbox (the government even pays for postage).

But… since I have a busy life like everyone else, sometime I procrastinate and election day rolls around and I’m filling in my ballot at the last minute. No problem — I can still take my sealed ballot and drop it off at any polling place by 7pm on election day — without having to stand in line. Easy peasy.

Sure, there’s still some effort involved. But hey — that’s the price for having a voice that matters. Your voice and your vote DO matter — don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise…Even if that someone is you.

Each voting district has their own rules and application process for voting by mail, so do an internet search to find yours. (Hurry, because the election is only a month away!)

In Maricopa county Arizona where I live, you can register to vote until 10/10/16 and early voting starts on 10/12. Here are some helpful links for Maricopa County:

Election calendar

Early Voting Ballot Request – Online form for upcoming election – DUE 10/10/16

Permanent voting list registration

So if you’re not already registered to vote, go do that RIGHT NOW. Whichever box you check or name you write in, YOUR VOICE deserves to be heard!

About Sara Korn

I help businesses discover and express their uniqueness because I believe that there are people out there who need what you do and need to connect with you NOW. I write brand messaging copy and marketing content designed to help companies stand out from the crowd and attract their ideal target audience.

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