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How Our Vote Counts

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: November 9, 2005
Latest Update: November 9, 2005

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Voting Counts
This message appeared on transform_dom today:
The following transform_dom poll is now closed. Here are the final results:

POLL QUESTION: Do you believe that your vote will make a difference this November?

CHOICES AND RESULTS

  • Yes, 2 votes, 33.33%
  • No , 4 votes, 66.67%
  • Undecided, 0 votes, 0.00%
  • I don't vote, 0 votes, 0.00%

What's wrong with this picture? Clue: How many people voted? How many people could have voted? (How many members on transform_dom?)

Consider that 6 people voted; and that there are 339 alleged members of tranform_dom. Why alleged? Because people don't generally bother to unsubscribe when they graduate or leave the group. Maybe 200 would be a better estimate. Just guessing.So the percentage voting would be 6/200 x 100= 3% . Hardly a representative sample.

But the fact that 4 people thought their vote doesn't count still scares me. Where have those 4 been as we talked about the fact that half of the turnout is enough to pass the measures? If one doesn't vote, that leaves the decision to the right wing, which is usually against the kinds of social and safety nets we are demanding. The right prefers to control all money through their own organizations, in which case, you're left out if you don't conform.

The problem with voting is that in this country we have only two parties. So you have the right wing position, and the other position, the allegedly "left" position. The indepenmdent party never flies in meaningful elections, so voting for it is just a gesture. But the left is always squabbling because we are more independent, tend not to do what someone in authority tells us to do, especially if we think we have a better idea, and we rarely agree about anything. That puts us at a disadvantage with respect the right wing which agrees on at least one principle: minimal government and no taxes. The left is the group that realizes that a lot of us aren't ever going to be millionaires, billionaires, and that catastrophic work loss, social changes, illness require a government to provide safety nets.

Now this is an overly simplistic explanation, but I hope it helps us all understand that voting is so far the only real means we have of making our voices heard, i.e., answerability. To not vote is to accept the denial of our voices, and to let those in power make the decisions for us.

Our vote counts when the right wing (mixed as it presently is) recognizes that we're going to vote, so if it wants to win, it's going to have to pour lots of money into its opposition to safety nets, forgiveness, rehabilitation, etc. For too long now, we've let a small group of voters control our elections, and hence, control the legislators who owe their election to them. If we vote, consistently, legislators will soon learn that they can't ignore us. We won't let them. THAT COUNTS.

If you don't win in an election - does that mean your vote doesn't count? NO. Your vote tells the politicians that you, and every other worker who votes, take responsibility for our governance, and the more of us who vote, the more we can control those who now respond only to monetary gain.

Maybe they'll steal the election in a contest of wills, as Bush did in 2000. Your vote still counts, especially as we keep that theft and illegality before the people, so they can see they've been boonswagalled. The fraud was much more subtle in 2004. By voting, you add your voice to others that oppose the boonswaggle, showing that opposition exists and is making itself heard. THAT COUNTS.



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