Three voting myths:

Voting Myth #1:  A single person won’t make a difference.

TRUTH: This is a misleading statement because it ignores the fact that we “single persons” can group together to make a very powerful and meaning difference.

Everyone talks about changing the world.  It is even said that change starts at home.  I would go one step further.  Global change won’t happen unless it starts inside each individual first.  People become teachers to help change the world.  People volunteer to help change the world.  And people become politicians to help change the world.  All of these are valuable aspirations and undertakings.  But it is a farce to think you can change the world without first changing yourself.  You don’t need to go to far off places or do great deeds for others in order to change the world.  You need to change yourself.  Change how you treat people.  Change how you treat your environment.  Change how you take responsibility for your actions.  Stop ignoring things that you know are wrong just because it would take an effort to speak up, and might even make you unpopular.  You are the only one who has to live with who you are so you may as well be the person you want to be…which I would venture to guess is a fairly good person.  In the big picture these changes are so small but they have the potential to create a juggernaut, an unstoppable force that would have to be heeded.  It isn’t hard to believe that if we each change ourselves to align better with how we would like to see the world, the global product of this change will be dramatic and swift.

Voting Myth #2:  When in doubt…vote “no.”

TRUTH:  When in doubt, abstain (don’t vote.)

 I am not saying that you should be sure of every candidate and issue beyond a reasonable doubt, but if you know nothing about an issue or candidate (or close to nothing), leave that chad unpunched.

Don’t vote blindly just to say you voted on every issue.  It is a secret ballot so if a duty has been shirked it was your duty to educate yourself prior to entering the ballot box.  Which and how many chads you punch is just between you and the voting booth, and I hear those voting booths are pretty tight-lipped.  If you feel you have to claim that you voted for everything then by all means go ahead, but don’t compound the issue by also voting blindly.

It is worse to vote for something you don’t know about than it is to refrain.  I just spoke to someone who voted “no” on all the state/appellate court judges.  He felt that his only choices were “yes” or “no”, and because he didn’t know anything about the judges, “no” was the right way to vote.  That is wrong on so many levels.  That is like saying that your default emotion towards someone you don’t know is “dislike,” until they can prove themselves otherwise.  That isn’t very open-minded, not to mention it fails at least one test of logic.  Most people would agree that when they don’t know someone, they start off with neutral feelings towards that person.  In the voting world, “neutral” should equate to “abstain”, not “no.”  The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference.  We either have an opinion or you don’t, in which case our normal response is “I don’t know.”  The “I don’t know” equivalent in the voting world is to choose NEITHER “yes” or “no.”  That is the proper way to abstain.  Casting your vote blindly (or even with just one eye open) will likely solve nothing and in fact may end up putting someone into office who has no business being there.

...the attraction of third parties? Judge for yourself. (or "The third parties have never looked so good!")

Voting Myth #3:  Your vote is wasted if you don’t vote RepubliCRAT.

TRUTH: Your vote is never wasted as long as you vote your conscience, although the RepubliCRATs have a vested interest in making you think otherwise.

I bet you can’t name a single candidate in tomorrow’s state and federal elections other than RepubliCRATs.  Considering how displeased we all claim to be with the current state of affairs, this is shocking, as well as disappointing.  I hear people complain that they dislike/distrust “both” gubernatorial candidates.  “Really?!?!?  …both?  …are there only TWO candidates?”  I understand that we are all busy, but voting is one of the most important ways we effect social change.  If you choose to participate in this way, put in that tiny added effort and learn about all the issues and candidates…all the candidates.  Even if you never vote outside the RepubliCRAT party, it will be educational, as well as eye opening.

This year gives a lot of us the perfect opportunity to pick at the corner of the band-aid that is our bi-party system, with little risk of pain.  I think you will be surprised at how good it feels.  With this year’s ‘guber’natorial race turning so many stomachs it is as good a time as any to try voting for the person you like most, as opposed to voting against the person you like least.  Vote positively, not negatively.  Since many of us will be unhappy no matter which of the RepubliCRATs gets into the governor’s mansion…why not take a few minutes and see if there are other candidates that fit your ideals better.  Don’t get caught up with party affiliation, just look at who they are, what they have done, what they believe in, and if they align better with your political views than your normal party.  Be forewarned though because I don’t know too many people who take this task to heart that don’t make the switch permanently.  It should come as no surprise that most of the “other” candidates are not your run of the mill politicians.  How could they be?  …they aren’t backed by the RepubliCRAT machine.  They are normal everyday folks who want so much to make a difference that they are willing to spend time, energy, and money fighting a race that they are likely to lose.  But they have hope, just like the rest of us; hope for a better future.

I know it seems futile but if enough people get fed up and actually do something about it, we (the voters) will again have our voices heard.  And don’t believe the hype that a candidate needs to be a politician in order to get things done.  There may be some truth to this, but only because we have allowed that to become the norm.  If we start sending honest, free thinking candidates out to Sacto and D.C. we will start to see the real power of the people.

Educate yourself.  And if you don’t have time to educate yourself, then don’t vote, at least not on those issue that you haven’t read up on.  Again, it is okay not to vote because an uninformed vote is often worse than no vote at all.  The polls are open until 8pm so you still have plenty of time to make a difference.  Just a few minutes during your lunch or dinner break reading over the voter guide can make a world of difference, both to you and to our system…even one vote at a time.

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