About a week ago when I went in a local mechanic to get my car inspected, I noticed that their office contained a handful of yard signs for our Republican nominee for Delegate, Tony Wilt. As I’m always looking for an opportunity (or excuse depending on your point of view) to discuss politics, I made a comment to the woman working behind the counter about the race. I asked her if she was planning on voting for Tony. Her response was that she wasn’t planning on voting at all. She stated that she only votes in “important races” like the one for President. Although such a viewpoint is common, it still makes little sense to me for several reasons.
Sure, the President is a lot more powerful position than a Senator, Delegate, or a Mayor, but which of these leaders are more likely to know who you are and know which issues are important to you? Think about it. Take me for example. In my years of political involvement, I’ve met a lot of Delegates, a handful of State Senators, a few Representatives, and even a U.S. Senator or two…but never a President. How about with voting? Time to roll out the numbers. In the 2008 election, there were approximately 131,000,000 votes cast for President. In 2009, there were 15,510 votes cast for Delegate in the 26th district. Tell me, a vote in which election carries more value? When is your vote more important? When it is 1 out of 15 thousand or 1 out of 131 million? Then again, as we don’t elect the President through the popular vote, but rather through the Electoral College, depending on whether or not you live in a battleground state, your vote likely carries even less weight.
The bottom line is the following. Although it may seem glamorous to only cast your vote when it is time to elect the “leader of the free world” (I hate that term by the way), in all truthfulness, such a vote is a mere drop in the vast ocean of ballots. If you really want to make your vote and your voice count, take the time to vote in smaller state and local elections. The turnout is lower and you might actually be able to make a personal connection with the candidates. So, fellow citizens of the 26th, I urge you to become informed in the nine days we have left and then get out to the polls on June 15.