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Sunday, November 4, 2012

I voted

I voted. I voted early, nearly a week ago. Even voting early required close to an hour, here in Montgomery county early voting was near 15,000 voters per day. I noticed very few young among the crowd lined and waiting our turn at the voting machine. Like most over 50 years of age I vote in all elections including the primaries.
This election vexed me, the metaphor about the least dirty shirt echoing around my brain. In a solid republican district this question of the lesser evil was repeated by many waiting in line with me. The last time I faced this dilemma was Richard Nixon vs. Hubert Humphrey in 1968, I didn’t wish to vote for either of them. I voted in 1968 and I voted in 2012.  The logic was the same in both elections. Democracy will only work if its citizens vote. Compared to other first world democracies America’s voter turnout is shameful. Making the problem worst, now one political party is working to reduce voter turnout. The data is clear, lower voter turnout favors republican candidates. Standing in line to vote last week I heard some comments about having too much democracy. There was an unwritten social etiquette that ideological conversations would be bad form and were quickly rebuked. This social more made the waiting and conversations generally pleasant.
The other argument for not voting in Montgomery County, Texas, is that the outcome is predetermined. In this district the republican’s could stand a potted plant for office and it would win. Indeed, a potted plant would be an upgrade to some of the candidates on the ballot. This myth of the election being predetermined (by gerrymanding) I call out as false. If all eligible voters did vote, the outcome would not be predetermined. The political parties would be forced to appeal to the majority, not to the organized special interest minority.
Voting can be inconvenient, long lines slowly moving. It is one day of inconvenience compared to many years of inconvenience due to bad government. To avoid the greater inconvenience of bad government go to the polls and vote, force the politicians to consider the majority of Americans. Pick your least dirty shirt and go vote.

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