How to be a Good Neighbor at Election Time; Why it’s Important to Vote


Note: Today I give reasons why good neighbors vote. Join me next time for a list of ways to be a good and kind neighbor to our family, friends, and fellow citizens throughout the election season.

I spend a lot of time at Good Neighbor Stories working to inspire people to be better neighbors, not just in the literal sense of proximity on our own blocks, but in the global sense of how our actions ripple out through our communities and the rest of the world. What we do—or don’t do—has very real impact, even if we don’t perceive it. And while I haven’t said it explicitly, I do imply in my writings that being a good neighbor equals being a good citizen.

In this age of  up to half or more of the eligible voters not exercising the right to vote, this may seem like a bold, or even naive, claim: good neighbors/citizens vote. It is a right, but it’s also a responsibility. And with that responsibility comes some preparation so that the vote you make is an informed one.

If you have not registered to vote, or moved since you last voted, you have until Monday, Oct. 22, in California (postmarked or turned in at an official site) to register. You can register right now onlineOnce registered, take some time to do a little research before voting. In my next post, I’ll go into more detail on that aspect.

In the meantime, here are several basic reminders of why it’s important to vote:

  • A democracy works best when everyone participates. We are electing people to represent us at all levels of government; those representatives will make very real decisions which will impact our everyday lives. If we don’t participate, at best we are taking the risk that those who do not represent our views or needs will be elected; at worst we are opening the door to those who want to manipulate or dominate the process to the benefit of the few.
  • Your right to vote was hard won. As a nation we’ve fought hard for a representative government and the right to vote; our troops throughout history have fought and died to protect that right. In addition, there are forefathers and foremothers who fought for women and minorities to be able to vote, a fact that should not be taken for granted.
  • Your vote does matter. My family would attest to me being a bit of a broken record whenever I hear someone say, “My vote doesn’t matter.” My response is always, “If everyone thought that way what do you think would happen?” My background is in political science and journalism. I’ve studied or reported on local elections where just a few votes did matter. I’ve witnessed candidates or measures fail by numbers small enough that might have been overcome by better campaign organization or get-out-the-vote efforts. And when it comes to national elections, just because you don’t live in a swing state, or you have a viewpoint that is to the opposite of most of the voters in your region, does not mean you should opt out. Numerous state and local candidates, as well as initiatives, are dependent on your participation.
  • Your vote, your voice. Voting is an important way to give voice to your opinions about issues that impact your life, and the life of your community/community of interest. As immigration, birth rates, and generational transitions continue, the electorate’s views on issues will change. Tipping points are real, and at some point elected representatives will be influenced enough to shift previously held positions.
  • If you don’t vote, “Big Money” wins. There are powerful monied interests counting on large numbers of voters staying home. They pour money into elections to influence a motivated few to vote in a way that benefits their own interests, not the overall populace.

Do you agree? Why or why not is it important to vote? Tell me in the comments section!

Come back next time to see my list of how to be good and kind to others during this election season.



  1. […] Time—Part 2 October 18, 2012 By Pam Marino Leave a Comment In my last post I looked at why being a good neighbor/citizen means exercising the right to vote. Today I list ways to be kind to others during the election season, when emotions may run […]

  2. […] election month; check out earlier posts on how to be a good neighbor at election time. Number one is voting, and next is getting along with others both online and off while discussing political […]

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