I Voted! Whether You Do or Not Is Entirely Up to You

I Voted! Whether You Do or Not Is Entirely Up to You

Because Kane County Connects is funded by local government, I can’t actually encourage you to vote.

I know. Crazy, right?

Theoretically, that’s the job of political parties — to rally people to go to the polls, to encourage voter turnout. Of course, every political party is encouraging turnout for candidates from that political party, or for referendums that political party supports. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different than the generic, rah rah encouragement I had in mind: To say, gosh darn it, get out and vote because it’s an essential component of democracy — and because it’s just a good thing to do. But I digress.

I think the idea also is that we don’t want a government-funded entity telling you that you have to vote. There’s plenty of that going around in North Korea, Cuba and Iran.

And there’s the argument that we shouldn’t encourage people to vote if they aren’t willing to take the time to study the issues. Informed voting, that argument goes, is more important than simply voting for the sake of voting.

I’m not here to argue any of those points. And I’m not going to encourage you to vote today. Do what you like — vote, don’t vote, it matters not to me.

But I will tell you that I just voted, and I feel really good about it. I remember, probably 20 years ago or more, listening to the radio and hearing disc jockey Steve Dahl say that voting is one of the great natural highs in life. I didn’t think too deeply about it at the time, but it’s stuck with me all these years.

I’m 57 years old now, and I still get a kick out of participating in the grand experiment of American democracy. I enjoy voting in the high-profile contests — in this election, the governor’s race is probably at the top of the marquee — but as I get older, it’s the local contests that I find most compelling. Local government really is where the rubber meets the road, where you see perhaps the greatest bang for your buck, when your one vote can sometimes swing an election. (Don’t laugh. There have been contests that close.)

So, did I just break the rules by telling you how much I enjoy voting? I hope not. Your experience might be different than mine. You might find voting a chore or feel that you just don’t know enough about the issues, or you’re so sick and tired of all the negative campaign ads that it’s turned you off (our oldest daughter falls into this category, I think), or it’s too stressful, or you’ve got a ton of work to get done today. There are plenty of good reasons not to show up at the polls.

Far be it from me to convince you otherwise. 🙂


Rick Nagel
Community Outreach Coordinator
Nov. 4, 2014