Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Single issue voting in the upcoming election

Unless you've been living under a rock/ignored every media outlet, the ELECTION 2016 is apparently the most exciting thing going on right now. Personally, I find it terribly boring and exhausting at this point. I mean, we still have months to go. So, I'm really not paying too much attention until September-ish. (And of now, none of the candidates look ultra-promising, don't you agree?) But all the hoopla has made me think about how I might vote....or, *gasp* whether to vote or spoil my ballot. 

Growing up, voting didn't seem like a super big deal in our family, mostly because for the last, oh, 15 years or so, my parents have voted via absentee ballot which is neither exciting nor of great note to small children (or teenagers). I just never really noticed if they voted, or didn't vote, or who they voted for. Part of this is because we lived in Canada - they still do - and voting is slightly different.

For example, all you have to do to vote is take this little card they mail to your house to a voting station and hand it over. Voila! You get to vote. My father finds this absurd and hilarious. My parents are renovating their house right now, and while it's under construction, they're living elsewhere. AKA they have two addresses. And so last voting season, he was mailed two voting cards, both with his name on them. He seriously considered trying to vote twice at two different voting stations and see if anyone would catch him (he did not actually try this). Compare this to the US with our somewhat more complicated and legislated voting procedures. Can states require an ID? If so, what kind? What if someone can't afford an ID? If you don't require one, how do you make sure people don't vote twice? What about voting locations? Or voting by mail? (It goes on. We spent weeks on this in one of my law school classes.) 

Another substantial difference is that in Canada, you vote for the party, not the person. I guess you sort of vote for the party here too, but some candidates are not actually a true Republican or Democrat (and I think the best ones are mostly moderate if anything). Anyways. In Canada, you actually vote "Conservative" or "Liberal" or "Green Party" or whatever and hope your MP (Member of Parliament) isn't a total wingnut. 

Once I was able to partake in the joys of voting (in both countries!), I did see how important voting was and that it has been important to my parents. I mean, have you ever jumped through all the hoops to vote absentee in a presidential election aka when your vote is teeny-tiny? They do - they obviously care. And thankfully, some of that enthusiasm for fulfilling your civic duty has trickled down to me! 

I really do love voting. Mostly, because I think it's so important AND I am grateful that I have the chance to vote when so many people in the world do not have this opportunity. I don't care if my vote isn't the deciding factor in anything. Voting is super powerful! But why I mostly care about voting is a blend of both my American and Canadian upbringing. And that is: the issues & the laws.

My interest in political candidates and their personal lives is almost non-existent. Same with political parties themselves; don't care, not registered as anything. But I DO care, a great deal, about what Politician A or Political Party B thinks about important issues. Specifically, one issue..... Alas! I am a single-issue voter. Or, perhaps a better description would be that if Politician A has a difference stance than me on my issue, I absolutely will not vote for them. However, if multiple politicians/parties have the same same stance as me, then I'll consider them more carefully. My issue is the great gatekeeper for me. 

Part of me, the JD-holding, rational part, thinks this is crap. That I am too narrowly-focused on one thing and many other issues are also very important. But another part thinks that I am absolutely right and entitled to vote as I please and if this issue is really this important to me (it is), then I should stay true to myself and not waver. 

So here's the tricky part for me now.... At this point in Election 2016, it seems like the two most likely candidates disagree with me about my issue. And if those people are my choices, I'm torn as to what to do. Do I just say "Oh well" and affirmatively vote for someone I whole-heartedly disagree with on a moral level? OR do I spoil my ballot? Not vote? All of these can be political actions and I intend to do something. What would you do? Are you a single-issue voter? (And if you feel like sharing, what's your issue?)

Update: at lunch, Lewis suggested I write in my dad. Or himself. Not a bad option ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment