Vote or Don’t Friggin’ Complain! Seriously… ever.

Young people make me sad sometimes. We’re a substantial portion of the voting population, yet politicians running for public office hardly listen to the things we have to say about the issues we care about. And I don’t fault them for that one bit. The fact of the matter is that, by in large, we don’t vote. Maybe we vote a little more in presidential elections – especially when there’s a charismatic black guy running for office – but honestly, we’re pathetic. And I hear people complain SO MUCH about the state of the government and our country, but does the average 20something vote in every (especially local) election? Methinks not, friends.

Excuse me if this is something of a rant, but it just bugs and disheartens me that our youth (myself included, of course) are so short-sighted and self-righteous at the same time. I voted by mail in today’s election (Editor’s note: This was originally written on May 19th, the day of a California state special election), and even though I knew it was a very important (that’s why they call it a “special”) election I still had to really push myself to get my ballot out there.

According to the L.A. Times, some 2.4 million Californians cast ballots by mail for the latest state election compared to back in November, when 13.7 million voters put in their presidential tallies. An 82.5% drop-off from six months ago? In the midst of the biggest economic crisis since your grandparents were graduating from high school? Really!?

OK, fine. I can accept that 20somethings don’t quite comprehend how important these elections are, or what long-lasting effects they’ll have. I can take that because no one is quite sure how these propositions will affect California’s economic outlook (as goes with all elections, really). But understand that if you don’t regularly vote in elections, both state and local, although local ones probably have more immediate impact on your life, you have no right to complain about your government. Ever.



7 Responses to Vote or Don’t Friggin’ Complain! Seriously… ever.

  1. lekowitz says:

    So much for freedom of speech. :-(

  2. RT says:

    Hi Lekowitz,

    Yeah that rant turned out a bit more scathing that I originally intended it, but I still stand by it. I’m sure you well know that this is not a freedom of speech issue. It’s more of an indictment on hypocritical non-voters. That being said, should I take your comment to mean that you don’t vote but enjoy the national past time of demonizing our government? And don’t appreciate being reprimanded for it?

  3. Cathy says:

    Thanks, RT. I have worked every election since 2000(as a Troubleshooter and Field Coordinator for the County) and this one had the lowest turnout EVER. Traditionally everyone (~84% of registered in SD County last Nov) votes in the Presidential and there usually are no elections the year after a Presidential, but this was a special one(~22% of registered showed up). I thank everyone who voted and to encourage those I see when I am out and about that day to walk into any polling place to cast a vote-provisionally- if they are not in their own neighborhood. You aren’t denied the right. I do have to bite my tongue a lot, since I wear a nametag and am representing the Registrar’s office…

  4. RT says:

    Wow that’s pretty cool! I’ve actually thought about volunteering to help out with elections, but as I mentioned in the article, I spend an inordinate amount of energy just motivating myself to actually vote. It’s nice to hear that you thank people for voting. For first time voters or, for lack of a better term, casual voters that can actually be a pretty strong incentive to return for the next election. I also didn’t know that you could just cast your vote at any polling place, but I guess that makes sense.

    Thanks for the informative comment Cathy!

  5. Cathy says:

    You get paid, but not much, and it *is* a horribly long day. ( Be there to set up by 6 am and close down after 8 pm, taking supplies back and all). Some election areas have specific votes (like a Representative for your district, or a city Proposition) so if you aren’t in your area, some of your vote may not count or be cast, but like in this election, it was the same six Propositions for the whole state, so you could have walked in anywhere. Plus you can always drop off a mail in ballot on the day of to any polling place. I enjoy doing it and meeting new people each time.

  6. RT says:

    Hehe that does not sound particularly inviting when you put it that way. It would have to be pretty dang fulfilling day to make it worth my while. Maybe some day…

  7. […] you don’t care about what’s being put up for vote, don’t bother.  But like RT has said before, once you do this, you really have no right to complain about the […]

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