Should I Bother to Vote? Columbia County, Georgia, USA

hey, i have a friend in columbia county who doesn’t see the point in voting since he doesn’t pay too much attention to local politics. who can stand to? it’s gross! anyway, do you have sort of a preferred candidates list that i can forward to him? he’s sort of like you in that he voted for Obama and feels disappointed by war activity and surveillance and war on drugs and no universal health care.

Yes, yes, yes.

Let’s start off with the mechanics of voting. If transportation or health or schedule or laziness is a problem, use an absentee ballot. I sent off for my absentee ballot yesterday, and I also requested them for my parents.

Now let’s talk about whether voting does any good. I’d say I’m in line with Professor Noam Chomsky says on this.

First step is to download a sample ballot and see what’s actually on it. I definitely see a value in voting against the incumbents for the Public Service Commissioner positions.

Assuming that Georgia is not in doubt for the Presidential election, I’ll write in Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala. If Georgia is close and Georgia’s electoral votes matter, I’d vote for Obama/Biden.

I do plan on voting for Barrow (holding nose). I’m really tired of Barrow’s advertisements.

When I don’t know anything about a position or the candidates, I vote for the Democrat, i.e. Evita Paschall for D.A.

For voters who support the Libertarian Party, there are several Libertarian candidates.

If I am proactive, I will learn about the position of Columbia County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor and the 3 candidates running for the three positions. Obviously, this means that, mathematically, your vote cannot make a difference in who gets elected. But, let’s say you discover that two candidates are qualified and one is not. You can vote for the two and not vote for the third and/or write-in “Not John Doe” or “Bugs Bunny” or the name of the person you think is qualified. Then you can find out the next time the office is up for election and try to do something about it.

Finally, there are two statewide proposed constitutional amendments and one county referendum. If you don’t know anything about the issue, vote no, since it could have only gotten on the ballot if our current politicians approved it. I’m voting against allowing the state to override local school boards in charter school approval. For the issues I don’t know anything about, I use social media and e-mail knowledgeable friends to find out.

I also vote to honor those people who suffered so that I could vote.

Now all this is assuming that a person can overcome couch inertia. The other litmus test for those who don’t vote out of principle is the extent of their activities. Do you attend demonstrations for causes you support? Do you donate money or time to help advocacy organizations? If you’re not doing that, then don’t tell me you’re not voting out of some principle.

Listen to the Chomsky interview. It really covers this topic well.

P.S. I’ve voting NO on Amendment 2.

P.P.S. If you still don’t know how to vote, vote opposite of every Augusta Chronicle Editorial Page endorsement.

P.P.P.S. If you don’t vote in every election, people who seek to suppress voting may succeed in suppressing your right to vote. Support measures which may provide voters with better choices.

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