I Voted

Yesterday I once again went to the polls and voted. I've been doing this since I was eighteen years old.  The year I turned 18 was the first year that persons under 21 could vote. The argument for letting 18 year-olds to vote was that if they could be drafted to serve in the military, then surely they were old enough to cast votes. I grew up in a politically involved family, so I took that first opportunity very seriously. I have continued to do so ever since.

I realize that voting can be inconvenient. It can take time, and in some communities multiple barriers are erected that discourage people to vote. I'm fortunate to live in a community where there are sufficient numbers of polling places. Such is not always true. Even here, in this community, the state has made it difficult for persons to get absentee ballots. It is worth noting that on Monday, we celebrated the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed literacy tests, poll taxes, and provided for federal oversight of areas where less than 50% of the non-white population was registered to vote (to make sure that opportunity was given to register). That was fifty-three years ago. Unfortunately, we are seeing efforts to undermine the purpose of that Act. 

We may struggle to know who to vote for, even as we enter the polling booth. Normally, I have everything down long before I get to the booth, but this time in one of the races, there were two candidates that I felt I could support without qualm. I didn't decide until I made my mark. That's good news, really, in an age when many find politics dirty, it's good to have multiple excellent candidates to choose from. Here's the thing to remember. Elections have consequences. Many of us bemoan the outcome of the 2016 elections, but it could have been different. In three states, one of which is the one I live in, the margin was less than 50,000 votes. In Michigan it was around 11,000. Considering the number of people who didn't vote or didn't cast a vote for the presidential candidate, things could have turned out differently. It has always been my opinion, and you are free to disagree, that if you don't vote you don't have a right to complain about the outcome of elections. 

I don't have a word from the Lord about voting. There isn't anything in the Bible about voting. When Paul wrote in Romans 13 about governing authorities, he was speaking of the Roman Empire -- the only game in town. The thing is, in a democracy, and we are a representative democracy, then we are the governing authorities. I might vote differently from you. That's okay. That's your right. But whatever your politics, first be informed, and then go vote. The primary season is drawing to a close, so get ready for the first Tuesday of November when the choices might be even starker than today!


Chris Eyre said…
Many years ago, I complained to one of my former schoolteachers (who was also a local councillor) that I had no-one to vote for. He said "But there's always a candidate of the X and Y parties..." I said I had not confidence in either of them, and he said "So stand yourself". So I did. Two elections later, I got elected, and served as a councillor for over 20 years.

So, passing the message on, I'd suggest that if you don't like the options you're faced with, you should go beyond just voting, and stand yourself.

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