When you live in a city as large as Manhattan, it’s easy to wonder if your vote counts. As we approach the 2016 general election, with local NYC elections right around the corner, consider these 4 reasons to vote — regardless of how you feel about who’s on the ballot.
#1 Voting matters to your community
The act of voting matters because it is not an isolated act. A vote count article posted on Oberlin College’s website uses basketball great Michael Jordan as an example, imagining him thinking before took a shot: "Oh, gee, this is only one basket, even if I make it, which of course I will, how much does one basket count?" The point is that a shot in basketball, or your vote, are part of a bigger picture.
A funny thing happens when you vote — you tend to get more involved in your community. You begin to understand Voters tend to be more actively engaged in their community. People who vote usually have engaged in other forms of political participation before they vote, too. So, by voting or contributing to the political dialogue, the citizen can magnify their political influence overall.
#2 Because you can.
By voting you are sending a message that you care about your community, your state and your country. While some would suggest our nation’s voting systems need to be overhauled, and others are outraged over voting rights practices across the country, voting is an essential act in a democracy.
Our content partner Open Society Foundations, actively works to make voting easier and more accessible to more people. “Voting is a central tenet of our nation and while we admire those who waited hours in line to fulfill their civic duty, this should and cannot be the norm,” an editorialist commented in response to the 2012 elections.
"Did you Know? New York law requires that all employees receive two hours paid leave to vote if they don't have four consecutive non-working hours between polls opening and closing."
#3 Civic pride
The state of New York has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country. “There’s an apathy,” suggested Bill Rudin in a news interview. “Whether you’re a Democratic or a Republican…be part of the debate,” said the Association for a Better New York chairman, which this year launched a #promotethevote campaign. “It’s important for New York because we need to have our voices heard, we need to have the urban agenda discussed.
#4 Free sticker
After the age of 18 voting is pretty much the only time we get a sticker for our efforts. In fact, a discussion of the economists’ view of voting, from Freakonomics authors Dubner and Levitt, supports the financial practicality of dismal voter turnout. Yet they conclude their piece suggesting we vote out of self-interest. The incentive is a social one rather than economic: “It may be that the most valuable payoff of voting is simply being seen at the polling place by your friends or co-workers.” And, if they don’t see you in the polling station, there’s always the “I voted” sticker.
You still have time to register for the November 8 2016 general election. Mail-in voter registration forms must be postmarked by midnight, October 14th and received by a board of elections no later than October 19th to be valid for the upcoming general election. In person registration closes Oct. 14. If you need an absentee ballot, submit the request by mail postmarked by Nov. 1 or in person by Nov. 7.
Ansari, M. (2012, Nov. 9). Make Voting Fair and Easy. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/make-voting-fair-and-easy
Does my vote really count. (n.d.). http://www.oberlin.edu/ocyvote/votecount.html
Greer, C. (2012, Nov. 1). Does your vote count: The electoral college explained. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9H3gvnN468
New York’s Dismal Voter Turnout. (2016, April 18). http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2016/04/new-yorks-dismal-voter-turnout/
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