Saturday, November 1, 2008


Early voting ended this week and in true Microbiologist XX fashion, I procrastinated. I waited until the last day to cast my vote. I was prepared for a serious wait, so I brought along my iPod loaded up with a few pod casts to help the time pass quicker. To my surprise, it only took 30 minutes.

Although I make a point not to discuss politics, I wanted to post about why I vote despite residing in a red state. Meaning, my vote for president isn't really going to count. My state does not split electoral votes and unless hell freezes over, this state is not likely to turn blue.

Anyway, here are some of my everyday reasons.

1. You never know what might happen. No to Pollyanna out on you, but if every non-republican in this state voted, instead of taking the attitude of "why bother" (I admit I'm tempted every election) maybe things might turn out differently. It could happen.

2. Voting sends a message. Although my state is unlikely to cast its share of electoral votes for a democrat, it might come closer than ever. If a record number of my state's residents vote for Obama, it sends the message that this state is getting more liberal. Since politicians prefer to get reelected, this might influence their behavior...just a little.

3. State and Local elections. There are many issues to vote on and people to vote for at the city and state level where your vote counts directly. This year, voting for school board members was a particularly strong motivation.

4. A license to bitch and moan. If you don't vote, then you forfeit your right to complain about the government until the next election. That is just not something I am willing to sacrifice.

5. It's my right. At the end of the day, I vote because I can.


Anonymous said...

I think the map colors have been changing significantly in quite a number of states. So you really don't know.

Candid Engineer said...

Well cheers to you then! I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'm not looking forward to getting up early to cast my useless vote on Tuesday, but I will anyway to make sure my blue voted is counted among the many.

Dr. J said...

Great post. You've neatly summarised exactly why everyone should vote who has a vote. If all the non voters voted in just about every election the result could have been changed so voting definitely gives you a licence to bitch and moan whereas the other way round does not.

The other really good reason why everyone should vote in the US, regardless of the state they are in is that the popular vote does matter. Ok it can't change the election, but it sure marred Bush's first term when he lost that by such a big margin. The rest of the whole world noticed that.

PhizzleDizzle said...

good for you. i think we should ALWAYS vote if we can, and i'm glad you did!!

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Go girl! I hate not being able to vote in the country I live in, I can't imaging CHOOSING not to vote! Good luck for all those results...

microbiologist xx said...

academic - exactly!! I took a look back at some of those maps, and indeed they are changing.

candid engineer - Good luck on Tuesday!! Since you are getting up early, maybe the lines will be short.

dr. j - Thanks!!! I agree completely. It is insane when you think about the fact that the "majority" of Americans don't elect anyone, just the majority of voters. Whenever I travel outside the country and people ask me why we elected a president that the majority of the country despises, I cringe when I have to explain that most people just don't vote. Ugh.

phizzledizzle - I still laugh a little when I think about your blog ID.

cath - Maybe if all the non-voters lost their ability to vote they might think twice about not participating.

Unknown said...

Good for you!

I also live in a red state, but thanks to some legal loopholes, have been able to maintain my permanent residency in my Home (Blue) State so I could continue to vote there by absentee ballot. I will have to become a resident and registered voter in Red State as soon as I finish my PhD, at which point I will probably feel really bitter about my vote in the next presidential election.

But you're right, it does matter and thanks for posting that.

Also, hope you don't mind that I've added you to my blogroll. Happy Election Day!

PhizzleDizzle said...

AA: That is very interesting! I would relish voting in a Red State because I would feel like I have more impact there. Otherwise, I don't "count" as much. When I got to graduate school in Swing State, I registered to vote right away because I had lived in Blue State and even if I forgot to vote it wouldn't matter. Now that I live in Other Blue State, I think about how it doesn't really matter (but obviously I vote anyway). Mr. PhizzleDizzle has maintained residency in MostlyRedButKindaSwing State in order to try and...well, swing the state :).

microbiologist xx said...

aa - heck no, I don't mind. I will add you to my blog roll too. :) Bitter is a good way to describe the feeling. This year I really focused on the school board nominees b/c two of them were pro-intelligent design. I really felt the need to vote on this issue even though I don't have any kids.

phizzle dizzle - you make a good point. I think I am more like aa where I feel kind of bitter that if the majority of my states votes go to the GOP, then my vote for pres. is essentially thrown in the trash. That is why I try to focus on other things. However, I never really thought of it in terms of living in a state where my vote is almost sure to count. I suppose thinking everyone is likely to vote the same might make you want to slack off a little. It must be kind of exciting to live in a swing state right now. I am a little jealous. If they would get rid of the damn electoral college, maybe we could all feel that sense of excitement.

microbiologist xx said...

phizzledizzle - I am adding you too.