Wednesday, October 21, 2020

To Vote, to Vote, Perchance to Vote


 In just under two weeks, Americans will go to the polls (or will have mailed in or walked in their ballots) to vote for several candidates, most importantly for who will be the next President of the United States. It’s a heavy burden on each of us. Anyone who follows me on social media knows who I support, but this post is not about WHO – rather it is about YOU.


I recently posted the following on my Facebook page:
     I remember, in 1960, one of our neighbors sitting on the front stoop of the Bronx building she lived in and crying her eyes out. My parents stopped to speak to her to find out what was wrong... she wanted to vote for JFK but her husband told her that if she didn't vote for Nixon she had to leave their home.
     My dad told her "when you get into that polling booth, who you vote for is YOUR business, no one else's..."
     In 2016 I heard a father screaming at his daughter over a cell phone (standing in the center of CVS), apparently she made it known she wanted to vote for Clinton, he screamed at her that if she didn't vote for trump she could pack her bags that day.
     It truly doesn't matter who you vote for (well it does, but I am not trying to make THAT point), YOU have to vote for the candidate YOU choose.
     Whether you are in a booth or filling out a ballot, you have privacy and NO ONE has the right to tell you how to vote - certainly NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO THREATEN YOU IN ANY WAY.
     Even if your polling place has "observers", YOU NEED TO VOTE FOR WHO YOU WANT.


Your vote DOES count. A lot of folks cry that it doesn’t, that the Electoral College actually elects our president. There is SOME truth to that as we saw in 2016 when the Electoral College did NOT declare the popular vote winner as president. However each state is assigned a specific amount of electors (supposedly something to do with population) and the popular vote of each state decides WHICH electors will cast a vote. Even if the vote is close then the electors vote for the majority candidate. There are many arguments calling this system archaic, but for now it is what we are stuck with.


Understand though that the ONLY and very few times the Electoral College disagreed with the popular vote, the popular vote was CLOSE, VERY CLOSE (considering the percentage of votes against the people who voted). So your vote, along with others, DOES decide who the Electoral Collage from your state chooses. Unfortunately, especially in national elections, third party candidates have not historically shown enough strength. Those votes in effect do not help decide the Electoral College count. If 100 people vote and 46 vote for candidate A, 44 vote for candidate B, and 10 vote for candidate C (third party), then candidate A will receive the Electoral College. So even if 8 of those C votes were people who absolutely did not want A but thought B wasn’t perfect, A would win because those 8 votes weren’t enough to give any strength to C.


This year between the pandemic and fear of violence at the polls, as well as some areas closing polling places and creating longer lines, getting your vote in may seem more challenging. Remember though that whatever time you need to take to vote, or distance to drop your mail-in ballot at an authorized receptacle – well this vote will have a major impact on the next four years of your life. It is extremely important to make your voice heard.



A state-by-state guide to voting in 2020

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