Sunday, November 4, 2012

Voting "other"? Oh, brother.

"Get out and vote!"

It's something that anyone living in a democratic society has heard, especially in the heat of the election season. I voted in my first presidential election this year. I was incredibly excited to finally take part in this rite-of-passage of sorts. I was a few months too young to do so in 2008 and couldn't wait to do it in 2012.

I have a big issue with the "Get out and vote" message. I wonder how many people really want you to vote when it's not for their preferred candidate. Campaign volunteers have been all over my campus in the past month to ask students if they're registered to vote and who they plan to vote for. Some clearly supported Romney, others Obama. Several of these volunteers stopped me and were excited when I replied I am indeed registered to vote. However, some of them lost their enthusiasm when I announced support for a candidate that was not theirs. A couple were outright hostile. It seems the real message is "vote, but only when it's for who I want."

If you EXPLICITLY verbalize you want me to vote for a particular candidate, I'll understand your disappointment if I politely say I'm not interested. However, it does piss me off when the message is to simply vote and the response to my choice is "People like you shouldn't be able to vote if that's who you support" or "Don't bother voting, then." Thankfully, not many have been this rude. The most common negative response to my presidential choice has been "you know that voting for him won't matter, right?" I don't care if you think my vote was "wasted," so long as you agree I had the right to vote in the first place. I exercised my right to vote and that's better than not voting at all. A dissenting opinion still carries more weight in the political world than nonparticipating indifference.

I'm Christi, I'm 21 years old, and I voted for the libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. I'm happy that most of the campaign volunteers and friends of mine expressed respect for my decision, even if it wasn't one they supported personally.

I encourage all citizens in the US of voting age to vote as well, no matter what candidate you support. I've made my presidential choice known and you're free to disagree with it and/or my political beliefs. At least there's discussions to be had.

1 comment:

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