Responsible voting is important

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

It is important for citizens to understand that voting is the most important tool they possess in effectuating change, especially in their communities. These changes play a profound role in one’s social, political, economic and educational life. Voting is a right and privilege not to be taken lightly or for granted.

Voting is so important that many self-serving entities partake in deceptive practices to sway voters. It is of utmost importance that careful and thoughtful consideration be utilized in analyzing, supporting, and voting for candidates that genuinely support the changes and policies that you feel are in your community’s best interest.

One should be cognizant that some candidates, bills, or amendments being proposed may not be in the best interests of the community as a whole, but only beneficial to a selective special interest group. Voting is so important (especially in local elections) that you have questionable tactics being used to navigate votes toward a specific candidate. One practice is by inundating the choices for candidates (perhaps by bribes or monetary gifts) to possibly split votes, making it possible for a specific candidate to literally walk in. This practice is only made more visible when you have people running for political offices with no experience and having little if any possibility of winning.

Putting certain candidates in office can be beneficial to developers, investors, and gentrification in many communities. In many cases, watch the money from private investors, special interest groups, and certain citizens supporting a candidate campaign. Some candidates may be planted ‘decoys,’ and if elected will openly promote and pass bills or zoning codes to benefit a certain person or group. Contrary to what many people may think, local elections probably play a more important role in people’s lives than presidential elections. Therefore those who only vote in presidential elections should rethink their reasoning.

All elections are important and should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, we have some people who feel a sense of hopelessness and think the political process is so flawed that it doesn’t matter whether they vote or not. This way of thinking only allows discretionary and corrupt practices by our elected officials to go unchecked due to lack of transparency or accountability. We can and should make a difference in having a say-so in empowering ourselves through voting.

One only has to look at the effort to disenfranchise so many people (especially African Americans and people of color) to understand the power that can be derived from voting. Just think, when we have laws and policies disproportionately aimed at penalizing people of color by taking away their voting privileges, a riveting message is being conveyed. It is only through voting to change laws, bills, and elected officials working against our best interests that we can truly make a difference going forward. It only makes sense for people who are adversely affected by a political system they feel negatively impedes their progress to rally and exercise the right to vote.

Although your vote is a personal choice, one should exercise prudence in voting on issues and for candidates whom you feel will better serve your needs and the needs of your community. Be leery of supporting and voting for a candidate who may be your friend but you know will not be able to get the job done. Sometimes voting for someone whom you know has little if any chance of winning is a wasted vote. It may be advantageous for voters to come together in groups and collectively support a candidate they agree will best serve the interests of the community, especially when you have a slew of candidates running for an office.

You have no reason to complain about the state of your community or of the country when you are complicit by not exercising your right to vote. You can make a difference. Exercise your right to vote. Register to vote if you are of age. Voting changes things.