Opinion: Voting with intention

Published 5:16 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

Typically, when election season comes around, I tell myself that I’m not going to vote due to my general frustration with the current state of politics and the choice of candidates—a position I feel is not all too strange these days. However, election day arrives and circumstances finally convince me to cast my lot in and vote.

As I look at the list of names, I take the time to look up the candidates as best as I can and gather a sense of their positions and leanings. Just because someone wears an elephant or donkey by their name doesn’t mean they properly represent what I believe and want. I investigate each amendment and weigh in my mind whether or not to vote for or against its passage.

This voting strategy takes time and reflection but I find it difficult to see myself idly voting without being careful where I align myself. Once my ballot falls in with the others, its set to be added with the weights and beliefs of the fellow residents of this country.

As we approach yet another election season, in a time that seems to be heavily divided along party lines, I implore everyone to take a moment out of their day to vote and to do so with intention. Vote for the candidate that best represents your viewpoint and perspective. Don’t fall for the trap of idly voting for just the party name next to someone’s name. Don’t vote to strike down an amendment simply because “change is bad” or “progress is good.”

What good is the freedom to exercise your right to vote if you let external forces govern the hand on your ballot in the first place?

We are all busy people with busy lives and its very easy to wait until the last second to look into candidates—the very person talking to you has been guilty of this. However, if you do this, you may miss small details or may be tempted to walk in, strike all red or blue and walk out satisfied with letting the political parties do all the heavy lifting.

Don’t let the current state of federal politics stop you from voting in the local elections either. As someone who attends city council meetings and county commission meetings, I have the seen the power of local politicians and the impact they have on Shelby County.

Do you want more parks? Do you want improved infrastructure? What are the potential candidates’ positions on taxes? Do they believe in supporting the local school systems? Will this candidate bring about enhanced growth to the housing and retail markets? Keep all of these factors in mind and vote for the person you think will keep Shelby County a great place to live and make it even better.

There is always a lot of encouragement for people to go out and vote during election season—please go out and let your voice be heard—but do so in a manner that services your own beliefs, opinions, values and befits the actions of a person who lives in a truly free and democratic country. Not everyone in history has had the opportunity to vote, so why not take that to heart and exercise that right to its fullest extent.