I’m a Voter Buddy. I’ve helped people register to vote. I’ve badgered people with questions such as “did you vote today”. But on primary day, I didn’t vote. I had my plan. I was going to stop in to vote after work on my way to the grocery store. It flowed so perfectly. My polling place is literally on the way from my office to my preferred grocery store.
As life goes, I ended up needing to stay 30 minutes later at work. I’m a busy mom. That 30 minutes was my voting time. I could’ve said, “forget going to the store – I’ll order dinner” (an additional unexpected expense for our family budget) and be sure to vote. Instead I chose to go to the store because I needed more than dinner items. My daughter had piano lessons and not going to the store right after work meant cutting into family time or going inconveniently late. Nothing on the ballot was truly inspiring to me, so I didn’t do early voting. I didn’t have a voter buddy to badger me on election day. I didn’t have a voter buddy to urge me to reconsider early voting.
Does all this mean I am a bad citizen? Should my voter buddy card be revoked? Am I hypocritical? ? Maybe. I feel shame and guilt for not voting. I questioned whether I should share this information because it makes me feel vulnerable. However, we all need a support network. We cannot assume that we know our friends and family are registered or that they are going to vote just because we feel passionately about the issue. We have to take the time to connect with each other and ask questions. We also have to be compassionate and prepared to help. If I am truly going to be a voter advocate, I need to be open, honest, and transparent about voting.
The 40% that don’t show up to vote aren’t all voters that need a voter buddy savior. Yes, there are people who can’t register or cast their vote because of stricter voting laws. That 40% are also people like me who, though well intentioned, just are not inspired or committed enough to make it to the polls; they are people who feel uninspired about the options and consequences of the election to show up.
Our government only works for the people when the people raise their voices and vote. We don’t all have to agree or vote the same way on the ballot. But we do all have to vote if we are going to be have a “government for the people, by the people”. We have the power to change our government peacefully. That peace comes from knowing the outcome of the election involves 80-90% participation and the result is truly the majority opinion.
Let’s exercise our right to vote and encourage our friends, family, and neighbors to also exercise their right to vote. Let’s openly debate ideas and opinions with civility and respect. Let’s be a politic of people not party. Join Coffee Party USA and be a Voter Buddy.
~ An Active Coffee Party Volunteer and Voter Buddy
Coffee Party USA