Vote the Person, Not the Party
I don’t find myself to be a huge political person. When I turned 18, I felt I was too young to know how to vote properly, so I didn’t register. I did not want to be a person who voted without doing my research and understanding what I was voting for.
I first voted in the 2008 election after having done research and knowing who I wanted to vote for. I had registered for a party because in Delaware, you could not vote in the primaries if you were not a Republican or Democrat (which is the most ridiculous thing, by the way). This rule actually is what made me not register at my next few addresses. I did not realize that it was a state rule (lack of understanding and research strikes again) and I just did not feel like I belonged in any party. Due to this and several other reasons (lack of time, being between moves, unable to get out of work), I had not voted, including in the most recent large election.
I realize now that nothing should keep you from voting, but that doesn’t mean you should just blindly fill in bubbles or push buttons.
The last couple years, I’ve heard people say such things as “I will never vote for another democrat” or “all republicans are awful”. These statements are just wrong. Politics, just like pretty much everything else in this world, fall on a spectrum. There are good people on both sides. There are crazy people on both sides. I personally think that both major parties are looking out more for themselves than for the people of the USA and am using my vote this election to get people into office who will help bring the country back to putting the citizens first.
The first thing you need to know when voting, and what should drive everything you do, is what you believe. What are your thoughts on Health Care? Gun Control? Abortion? Human Rights? Taxes? Do your research. I didn’t know how I felt about Voter ID requirements, which is an amendment being voted on in this election, until I did research on the arguments for both sides.
Once you know what you believe, find people who will enact what you believe. I word it this way because politicians can say they are going to do something, but their voting record can contradict their words. Look at their record, look at who sends them money, look at who supports them (and I don’t mean celebrities). Look for people who are passionate about their beliefs and are not just saying them to agree with other people in their party. Look for people who do research themselves and have data and reasoning backing up their words.
I can tell you that in this election, I tended to lean more to one party than another, but I did not vote for all the same party and I did not look at the candidates’ party when I was researching the candidate. I looked at what they stood for, what kind of person they were, and did I agree with their positions.
There is still time today to do research and get out to vote. I really enjoyed the website Vote411.org for my research. While not everyone sent back answers to their questions, it lists everyone who is on your ballot and makes it easy to find their websites to look up their positions on topics.
If you are seeing this after the 2018 election, please keep this in mind for whatever election comes next. Think about the people who will help us be the best country we can be, regardless of party.