Why you should not bother voting on Election Day (Opinion)
On Tuesday November 6th you'll have the opportunity to exercise your right to vote in New Jersey. 5,921,367 New Jersey residents are registered to vote. That's 150,000 more than were registered in mid January. But turnout is always the thing. A presidential year brings far more people to the polls. In 2016 New Jersey's turnout was 68%, and that was the second lowest for a presidential election. Last year's turnout was 38.5%, and that featured a governor's race.
Here are 5 reasons you shouldn't even bother voting this year.
1) What's your one vote really going to matter?
In one of the closest elections in New Jersey history Jim McGreevey came close to toppling Christine Todd Whitman for governor and fell short by only 25,426 votes, or 1.05% of the vote. Not close enough for you? Go back to 1981 for Tom Kean's most narrow victory over Jim Florio. It was the closest election in New Jersey gubernatorial election history. Kean won by 1,797 votes. Think about that. 1,797 votes out of 2,290,201 votes cast for the two. A percentage difference of 0.08%. Still think your vote doesn't matter?
2) Why wait in that long line?
The lines aren't that long. In 2016, and keep in mind that was a presidential election year known for much higher turnouts, 74% of voters waited less than 10 minutes start to finish to vote. That's according to the Survey of Performance of American Elections. It can take longer some days to wait for a fill up at a gas station.
3) It's a blue state! If I want a Democrat they'll already get in; if I want a Republican they don't have a chance!
There are 40 seats in the State Senate, and 15 of them are occupied by Republicans. There are 80 seats in the State Assembly and 26 are occupied by Republicans. So it happens. And don't forget we had a two term Republican governor in Chris Christie and a twice elected Republican governor in Christine Todd Whitman. Bob Hugin is running for U.S. Senate and would be the first Republican from New Jersey elected to the U.S. Senate since Clifford Case who served until 1979, but yes it could happen.
4) I never get to decide on anything that matters!
Oh yeah? On Tuesday voters in New Jersey will decide on whether to borrow $500 million for school construction projects. Is it too much debt in an already tapped out state or is it important to create a future workforce? You get to decide that, not the politicians.
5) The right to vote is nothing special and only gets you wrapped up in jury duty.
The right to vote still only belongs to U.S. citizens. And only once you're 18. Blacks used to not have it. Women had to fight for it. Your right to vote can be taken away from you if you violate the law and are incarcerated. Many countries do not have the right to vote that you have. Many countries also don't have free speech, a free press, a right to a fair trial, just to name a few. As far as jury duty, being a registered voter isn't the only way they find jurors. If you're a licensed driver or ever filed a NJ state income tax return you're also on the list, so relax about that.
Your right to vote is precious. Don't leave it in a dusty box. Embrace it, and get out on Tuesday November 6 and vote!
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