September 25, 2012 - National Voter Registration Day

It's important for people in representative democracies to actually vote!

And an awful lot of citizens who can vote just don't bother to. A lot of these non-voters are young. A lot of them say, “What does it matter? It's just one vote!” Some of them seem to think that voting is bowing down to the people in power. Not voting, they think, is thumbing your nose at the system. A rebellious gesture.

But it's not a gesture at all. The people in power love it when people don't bother to hold them accountable! As a recent poster said, “Not voting isn't revolution—it's surrender.”

In other words, if more and more people don't vote, they surrender their power to make choices to the fewer people who do vote.

In the U.S., people have to register to vote before they are allowed to vote on election day. Most states have regulations that voters must register 15 or 30 days (or so) before the election, but eight states have a way to register on election day, and then vote, and two states have a way to register ahead of time but then also vote on that day. Nowadays many people vote through “absentee” ballots, rather than by going to the polls, so many, many people vote before election day.

Take advantage of today's “holiday” to encourage everyone you know who can vote (everyone old enough, who is a citizen) to register and to vote. Here are some websites to help people do so:

Did you know...
In 32 nations, citizens are required to vote. (Apparently, not ALL of these nations enforce this compulsory voting law.) Australians and Belgians, for example, get fined if they don't vote. What do you think? Good or bad idea?

Do you think the voting age should be lower? Check out this earlier post

Also on this date:

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