The year I turned 18, I registered to vote and dutifully went to the polling place to vote in my first election. I don’t remember who I voted for, as it wasn’t a presidential election year, but I did vote. With very few exceptions, I have voted in every election since that first one in 1978.
That’s 35 years of doing my research, making my selections, and going to the polls. Usually, I know well in advance who I’m going to vote for, although there were a few times where I was just so unhappy with the choices, that I chose to vote for a particular party line instead.
Through all those years of doing my duty, I felt as though I was just doing what I was supposed to do. I didn’t feel that my one vote was really going to make any big difference in the world. Especially in presidential elections, where the popular vote doesn’t even really matter. But I did my duty and that was that. I could go on to my next responsibility.
This year is different.
As I wrote three weeks ago, candidates in my town of Monroe NY truly wanted to affect change, and to do so, they put aside their differences about national politics and party lines. A Democrat, Republican and Independent joined forces, created the United Monroe party line and they campaigned hard on a platform of Accountability, Civility and Transparency. The candidates and volunteers campaigned the grass-roots way, with a goal of getting a significant amount of registered voters out to the polls this year. They held fund raisers, conducted rallys, and did good old door-to-door information sessions.
So what does this all mean?
The United Monroe party made people care. Regardless of how the election turns out, this morning when I went to the polls and filled in the small circles below each open position, I knew that what I was doing mattered. Not only do I actually care who wins, but the future of the town will be dramatically different depending upon what the outcome of this election is. My vote is meaningful.
And yours is also. We all know we CAN vote. We all know we SHOULD vote. But the only thing that matters is whether we DO vote. And this year, it actually does matter.