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Low Turnout Results in Poor Government

We are quickly approaching the 2014 midterm elections. While there is some disagreement about the extent of voter turnout and whether or not it is declining, the reality remains that even in good turnout years, many of our eligible voters simply neglect to vote. There are many empirically-derived reasons for this fact, but those reasons, in my opinion, pale before the reasons we all should take the time to vote on November 4. Here are some of them:

1. Most of all, this is YOUR country, a constitutional republic that can only work as intended if you register and vote.
2. Second, it’s YOUR money! It is our city council, our county commissioners, our governor, state officials and legislators, president and members of Congress that YOU vote for who will decide how much of our public wealth to invest in public services and how to fairly share the tax burden.
3. Third, they are OUR children and OUR neighborhoods. We want to do the best to keep our children healthy, fed, safe, cared for, and educated; and it is the officials that WE elect who will set the policies for families pursuing their hopes and dreams. So also with our neighborhoods. WE elect officials and judges that make daily decisions about crime prevention, laws and law enforcement, safe and affordable homes, traffic patterns, where to put schools, parks and recreation.
4. WE elect the people who make the decisions about our jobs, our highways, our healthcare, our Social Security.
In short, we receive the quality of government we deserve. If we do not vote, we simply do not have the right to complain about the leadership on any level of government. If we do vote without first learning about the candidates and the values they have demonstrated, we are only slightly better than those who do not vote at all. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” As you prepare for this important election, I would encourage you to check out http://www.votesmart.org. I know how hard it is in these times of extreme partisan division to trust any organization. Nonetheless, I encourage you to check out their website and, if you are as convinced of their nonpartisan perspective as I am, use their tools before you vote to learn about all the candidates that are important to you. Then please vote!