Why Your Vote Matters

As an elected official, it probably makes sense that I am passionate about democracy and public service.  (Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have run for office, right?)

Perhaps my early engagement learning about our government at Girl’s State is what sparked my pubic service interest.  But it’s watching the process of  government and seeing how few people vote, that fuels me today.  As folks that know me well can tell you, I been an “active” participant in the electoral process –  reminding my family, neighbors, friends and constituents about the importance of voting.

Voting Trends

There is phenomena in this country where folks just don’t seem to vote.  In the 2008 Presidential election about 63% of eligible voters cast their ballots – but in local elections, that number is closer to 15%.  Yes, 15%.   This has always surprised me.  Why would you NOT vote?  I’ve heard lots of reasons for not voting from folks. “I’m too busy or, I work and can’t get there, I don’t know who’s running, My vote won’t matter…   But none of these really ring true to me.

It’s your duty

Voting in this country is a right, privilege and responsibility.

Throughout history, so many of our servicemen and women have given their all to protect our nation, or as Abraham Lincoln said, “their last full measure of devotion.” Voting is a right that people across the world continue to fight for and that many have not yet achieved.

Voting is also a responsibility – and an opportunity. It’s your chance to choose who represents you in making the decisions that guide our society.  Many elections also have social consequences, as well.  Without your vote, your voice is not heard.

Why Vote?

By now you maybe thinking “C’mon, does my vote really count?”  I’m here to tell you, it does.  We’ve seen elections recently that were decided by just a few votes.  That alone should tell you that each and every vote matters.

But, your vote does more than elect candidates.  It holds us, your local and national leaders responsible and accountable for the decisions we make. Your vote also sends a message about the issues that you believe are important, and have you weigh in on the topics of the day, personally providing your say about your community.

Voting Confusion

So, you’ve seen the signs all around town by now.  With the primary election on May 8th, the candidates are doing what they need to do to get your attention. For some folks that aren’t from North Carolina, there are some new definitions that have to be learned about voting here.

  1. Unaffiliated *does NOT equal* independent.  Unaffiliated in North Carolina just means that you choose NOT to be associated with a particular Political Party.  But, it DOES mean that you can vote in a primary. (Unlike in some other states.)
  2. If you ARE registered as an “unaffiliated voter” you are in good company with more than 30% of voters in Cary registered as “unaffiliated.”) In Wake or Chatham County you CHOOSE your ballot, either Democratic, Libertarian, Republican or Unaffiliated. That does not lock you into that party for the general election, or moving forward.
  3. Choosing a political party ballot will allow you to vote for those party candidates on the ballot, the races that are non-partisan, and the referendum of the Amendment to the NC State Constitution.
  4. If you are registered with a political party, you must use *that* ballot.
  5. Be prepared before you go, and check out your “sample ballot” online.
Vote Now

One of the great advances in the voting process has been no-excuse absentee, also called “early voting”. Early voting is the ability to allow a qualified voter to cast his or her ballot prior to the official election day.  No excuse or justification is required.  You just show up!

In Wake County early voting is in full swing, and you can vote this week at a location near you from 11am – 7pm, Monday thru Friday.  In Cary, you can vote at the Herb Young Community Center, or check out the Wake County Early Voting page for more information. If you live in Chatham County, check out the Chatham County  Election page for more information.

Let’s face it, with early voting and their extended hours, there is really no excuse NOT to vote.

My View

This wouldn’t be a blog without my editorial perfunctory comments.  So here goes.

Photo by Kittenry

I will be voting AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE.

Plain and simple: it’s bad public policy, it harms North Carolinian families and children, and it writes discrimination into our State Constitution.  Furthermore, it reduces our state’s ability to successfully compete for jobs in these tough economic times while harming our business climate and having the potential to have far-reaching unintended consequences for so many.

But for me, it’s more personal. As the grandchild of a Holocaust Survivor, I know too well the impact of discrimination.  What Amendment One aims to do is to make some of our friends, family members and co-workers feel “less than” the rest of the population.  To limit their ability to care for their loved ones and to deny them or their children health insurance, whether in a gay or straight domestic partnerships, is ludicrous.

This is discrimination, plain and simple; and our state, our people, and our constitution deserves better than this.

Final Words 

Abraham Lincoln called democracy a “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” This means that we are not here to serve our government, but that our government is here to serve us. You have the responsibility to vote – and have your say.  Please make time to do so.

Thanks for listening.

6 Responses to Why Your Vote Matters
  1. Ian Shepard Reply

    As the grandchild of a Holocaust Survivor, I know too well the impact of discrimination.

    So, people who support the marriage amendment are the Nazi’s, right?

    • Lori Reply

      Hello Ian and thanks for your comment.
      No, my comment was purely about my own and my own family experience with discrimination. I would NOT ever go so far as to even hint that people who support the marriage amendment are Nazi’s.
      I believe that each of us brings a valuable set of experiences to our decision making process – my beliefs and values are influenced by those experiences, as well. My family’s history has shown that people can discriminate for all kinds of reasons, and sometimes, discrimination can manifest itself into unintended consequences. I was only explaining why *I* am more sensitive to issues of discrimination, and my intent was not to cast aspersions towards anyone else.

      • Ian Shepard Reply

        Ms. Bush,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. I can certainly understand your perspective and I’m sorry for what your family has had to endure. I want you to know that I appreciated the premise in the beginning of your article. I also believe that far too few people take their rights and responsibilities as American citizens seriously and that it is important to focus on these local elections as much as it is at the state and national level as they determine the direction and focus of our cities and communities. While I understand and respect your opinion on the matter of the marriage amendment, I don’t agree with your views.

        If marriage were something that were merely owned by the state, with no other implications, then it would not matter what it means at all. In that scenario, it would be unjustifiably discriminatory to deny people the ability to marry between sexes, amid sexes, or even intra-species. If it is merely a legal term, then the terms of that law are subject to the interpretation of the presiding legal body and can be reinterpreted to fit the societal norms of the day. The problem is that this is not just a mere legal issue, but an issue of morality and deep religious convictions.

        There are other issues at play as well. For instance, were homosexual marriage declared a constitutional right in North Carolina, would you then support schools in Cary teaching proper methods of “safe” homosexual sex to children? What about teenagers? Would you support legislation that would criminalize churches and organizations that refuse to cater to those in the homosexual community that wish to get married in their institutions under the premise of intolerance? By that I mean, if in your synagogue there were a homosexual couple who wanted to get married, and your Rabbi decided that he would not be comfortable administering the union, would you stand by legislation that would criminalize the act of non-compliance with the right to marriage based on religious or moral grounds?

        I am a firm believer in the God of the Bible. This is not merely a social convention, nor a religious affiliation that can be swapped as easily as changing clothes, but a whole life commitment. I know that God not only exists, but that He has died in my place to separate me from my sins forever. He acted on my behalf, sacrificed Himself for me, and my only requirement is to repent of my sinful life and to trust Him that His work was sufficient for my sin debt before Him. What right do I then have to tell the One who died in my place and rose again in glory that His rules do not apply to me or that I simply refuse to believe what He says to be true? For me, it’s not about my personal view on a subject – I have homosexual friends who disagree with me on this subject and I understand why they do – it’s about where my trust lies. Do I trust in what the Bible says, or the laws of mankind?

        It’s for that reason that I support the marriage amendment – because I don’t have the right or authority to tell the God who created the universe that His rules are subject to my interpretation and that I will allow the society where I live and survive to determine my morality when He has made it clear through the Bible (Torah and the New Testament) that He has a high moral standard.

        Thank you again for your time to read and respond to our views. It is important that people who serve our community know the needs, feelings, and desires of our community and I commend you for doing so.

  2. Jason Chamberlain Reply

    Lori,

    Thank you for this exhortation to vote. I agree that it is not only a right, but a duty and it is one that I have not always done faithfully. I appreciate the reminder.

    I have a question regarding your logic around Amendment One. Where do you draw the line with this? If we as a state agree that homosexual partnerships get labeled as “marriage,” then what else can be called a “marriage?” Then what’s wrong with polygamy, for example?

    Also, I think that to equate this issue with the Holocaust is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. You are implicitly making a statement that being homosexual is as innate as being born with a certain ethnicity. Are you sure that you want to say that? Also, as a supporter of Amendment One (based on a conservative reading of Romans 1 in the Bible), you are implicitly associating me with the Nazis. Are you sure that you want to do that to those who disagree on this highly-controversial topic?

    • Lori Reply

      Jason,
      Thanks for your comments.
      First, the NC State Law already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage.

      My comments stem from the fact that continue the effort to push this and harms families, children and our business climate.

      Personally, I do not have an issue with same-sex couples being married. And the idea that their marriage poses a threat to the institute of marriage, or to others, seems incongruent to me. The biggest threat to marriage isn’t same-sex couples, or domestic partnerships, but some social media.
      I understand that many people of different faiths will disagree with this point, and I value their opinion and listen. As a Jew, I am not as well informed about the New Testament (Romans 1 to which you refer) but I will take your word that that is the definition – but I am not implicitly associating you, or anyone else, with the Nazi’s. I am just explaining my experience with discrimination, and why I will always work hard to stand up for tolerance, open-mindedness and acceptance.

      • Jason Chamberlain Reply

        Lori,

        Thank you for your comments and clarification. I hope you can understand how I can see that from what you wrote. I’m sure you also know that the Torah speaks very clearly to this matter as well.

        It seems to me that if you are going to call this an issue of “discrimination” then you are also implicitly saying that ontologically one is either gay or straight in the same way as you are a daughter of Abraham. What I find fascinating about this is that there is much anecdotal evidence supporting and contradicting that concept. Surely if folks were “born this way” then it would be almost completely consistent.

        As a Christian, I am tolerant of everyone in the classical definition of the term. However, I am not accepting of everyone’s behavior. Nobody is (I assume that you decry pedophilia, for example). Is it just a matter of enlightenment that only since the latter part of the 20th century that we as a society are beginning to accept a behavior that for millenia was considered perverse and aberrant?

        Please understand that I am not calling for a return of laws against sodomy. But I am saying that calling disagreement on this matter tantamount to “discrimination” is unfair. I don’t think that anybody wants to discriminate. However, those of us who support the amendment want to preserve the classical definition of marriage since it is universally known that children do best when mom and dad are in a committed relationship. Even Bertrand Russell understood that marriage was about children.

        I would maintain that redefining our terms because of our sexual preferences is a dangerous business. If we’re honest, the real issue here is normalizing a practice that for centuries was considered perverse. Your position basically states that we are much more enlightened than the ancient Jews, Christians, and Muslims since they were misguided about these rules. I’m not prepared to accept that.

        Incidentally, as a Christian I also want to apologize for how the church has handled this. We have plenty of logs to take out of our own eyes before we handle these specks (check out the Baptists at the Golden Corral, for example). However, as a moral issue comes to the forefront it is also our job to speak to it in what we believe is a way faithful to the Bible. Incidentally, I have no love for the Westboro Baptist folks either.

        Thank you for the interaction on this. I do appreciate all you and the other council members do for our town. I love living in Cary and you and the council are a big part of that.

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