OPINION COLUMNS

Voting – why bother?

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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Don’t vote.

Your voice doesn’t need to be heard.

You’ve got plenty of reasons: no time, bad weather, lack of knowledge about where the candidates stand on the issues, lack of qualified candidates, perhaps.

Plus, really, how will your one vote make a difference anyway?

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

Maybe you’ve looked at the primary ballot and you’re confident the candidates you support will win easily. Or, on the flip side, you believe your candidates don’t have a prayer.

If you vote in the Wise County Republican Primary, you’ve got a minimum 29 candidates to consider in state and local contested races and three to four more if you live in Precincts 2, 3 and 4. And then, you’ve got 11 party propositions to consider.

While there are no county-level contested Democratic races on the Wise County ballot, there are 20 candidates in contested statewide races, including nine candidates alone for governor. The Democratic ballot also has 12 party propositions.

Sure, you could review a voters guide from a non-partisan group’s website like the League of Women Voters of Texas at my.lwv.org/texas/voters-guide which features both English and Spanish versions, if you are into that type of thing. Most major newspapers, such as the Dallas Morning News, also make their voting recommendations on their opinion pages, but who reads the opinions of newspapers anymore, am I right?

I bet you are one of those people who only vote in presidential elections. That’s really the most important thing. Because that’s the person who really embodies your values and makes the biggest impact on your community.

Besides, you know your friends and neighbors. They’ll all vote, correct? And you’re sure they will make the exact same choices in all 43 races or ballot items that you would make if you actually voted.

Look, if our elected representatives in Texas really intended all of us to vote, they wouldn’t put obstacles in our way, would they? Like requiring photo ID (which a federal judge has ruled discriminates against minority voters, and also adversely impacts homeless people and many elderly who no longer drive) or making you register to vote in advance (unlike those 15 states and the District of Columbia who allow you to register to vote on the day you cast a ballot).

Convicted felons also don’t get a vote in Texas until they’ve completed their sentence, even if it is just probation. People who break the law should never vote for our members of U.S. Congress, who, incidentally, can be elected to the position even if the candidates have been convicted of felony or misdemeanor crimes in some non-Texas states (looking at you, U.S. Congressional candidates Democrat Chelsea Manning and Republican Joe Arpaio.)

Here’s the deal: it’s best to leave the voting to the fervent few. The rabid far right and the loony far left. They never seem to have any problems turning out to vote, and they always ensure that we have the absolute best two candidates when the general election rolls around.

Sure, moderates greatly outnumber them, except on election days when it seems the opposite is true. But what’s the worst that can happen, really?

So don’t bother voting 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday at four early voting locations in Wise County: the Wise County Elections Office, 200 S. Trinity St., in Decatur; Alvord City Hall, 215 W. Elm St.; Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave.; and Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St.

And stay away from the 25 voting precincts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.

March 6, 2018 – the 182nd anniversary of the fall of the Alamo and a turning point in our state’s fight for independence.

I’m sure the brave group of Texians who valiantly fought for the future freedom of Texans at the Alamo would understand if you just want to sit this election out.

Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and William Travis, along with about 200 Texians were greatly outnumbered in that battle, so I’m certain they’d understand if you feel like your actions at the ballot box won’t make a difference, either.

So remember the Alamo on March 6.

Just forget about voting.

Brian Knox is the special projects manager at the Messenger and he went ahead and voted for you.

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