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Voting is Your Right, Not an Obligation

At the risk of being accused of “voter suppression,” allow me to suggest that if you don’t know the issues and don’t know the candidates that it would be better for your community and our republic if you just stayed home on Election Day.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you “can’t” vote.  Just that maybe you “shouldn’t.”

Indeed, if you haven’t taken the time to research both the candidates and the issues on the ballot this year sufficiently enough to cast an informed and educated vote, then please do the rest of us who are exercising our right responsibly a favor by sitting this one out.

There is simply no excuse for not being an informed and educated voter in this day and age. The Internet is an absolutely fantastic tool for researching candidates and issues.  Local newspapers continue to provide invaluable information and often endorsements.  And plenty of organizations of like-minded individuals also provide voter guides and candidate recommendations.

For example, if gun rights are an important issue to you, then check out the endorsements of groups such as the Nevada Firearms Coalition. If social issues are important to you, check out the voter guide published by Nevada Families.

If being a Republican or a Democrat is important to you, find out which party the candidates running in so-called “non-partisan” races belong to. If you’re libertarian-leaning in your philosophy, the Libertarian Party did a great job researching candidates this year on their website.  Ditto the Independent American Party if you take your politics more on the social side of issues.

The point is there’s just no excuse for casting a ballot in ignorance. And yes, I’m saying that if you go into the voting booth and make your decisions by flipping a coin or going “eeny-meeny-miny-moe” that instead maybe you should spend the day getting your car washed or your nails polished.

An instructive case in point illustrating the danger of casting an ill-informed vote was the campaign of Dave Wilson last year.

Wilson was a white candidate running in a predominantly black district for a board of trustees seat in Houston who didn’t include a single photograph of himself on his website or in mailers but strongly and disingenuously suggested he was black. And to the shock of many black voters who ignorantly voted for him without really knowing who they voted for – he won!

Is there a “Dave Wilson” on your ballot this year? If you don’t know, don’t vote.  Or at least only vote in races in which you clearly know who the candidates are.  You get no extra credit for casting a vote in every single race.

Yes, voting is your right. But if you exercise that right, please do so responsibly.