Opinion: Vote!

Please Do Your Duty, Citizens

Carolyn Carlson
6 min read
(Tom Arthur)
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Thinking of sitting out this election because you haven’t bothered to register to vote? There is no excuse to balk any longer. These days it is easier than ever to register to vote, or to update current information via a new online portal set up by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office. As long as you register to vote by 5pm on Tuesday, Oct. 11, you will be eligible to place your vote to save the planet.

Sounds Dramatic

By “save the planet,” I mean vote against Republican Donald Trump, who has pledged to get the United States of America out of international agreements aiming to help humanity turn the corner on global warming and looming environmental threats. People worldwide take great risks to help democratize their countries. It disheartens and disrespects global efforts to keep people moving forward, when US citizens do not even register to vote, let alone take the time to cast a ballot. And globally, bullies notice when huge percentages of Americans, especially youth, don’t vote. Strongmen think they can steal elections with organized divisiveness, blaming and hating.

Every Vote Counts

A recent New Mexico poll commissioned by Research and Polling, Inc. and the Albuquerque Journal shows Democrat Hillary Clinton just slightly ahead of Trump with native son Libertarian Gary Johnson coming in with about 24 percent of the vote. Now, granted the Journal poll is not to be viewed as a real snapshot of New Mexico since this is the opinion of only 501 New Mexico “likely” voters interviewed by landline or cell phone from Sept. 27-29. Such polls often miss the mark. But with or without these numbers, taking away 24 percent of possible votes from the more qualified candidate could bring on the curse of the 2000 election.

That’s when third party Green Candidate Ralph Nader
siphoned off liberal votes, partially from Democrat Al Gore, thereby helping Republican George W. Bush win by a fraction. That crazy election had televised coverage of folks counting paper ballots with “hanging chads” in Florida, where the governor was Jeb Bush, G.W.’s brother. A federal lawsuit, Bush v. Gore, was filed, and the US Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 vote that Bush become the de facto president.

A remote possibility is that this could happen again with New Mexico being in the hot seat. If Johnson were to win New Mexico’s five delegates, then there could be an electoral college gridlock. This would send the election to the House of Representatives, which is stacked with Republicans.

Here’s How

Don’t be lazy. In many states, Republicans have gone to great lengths to make it harder for people to register to vote, knowing that those “people” tend to be people of color, or supporters of same-sex marriage, or those who would put clean water, air and environmental longevity in front of a few years of business profits.

Once registered, there are a number of ways to vote. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. You might even be able to go to your old school and show up between the hours of 7am and 7pm to vote, or go to any one of the 68 voting convenience centers scattered around
Bernalillo County.

Not going to be around on the big day, or not interested in the social bonding aspect of standing in line for what can sometimes be a long time? You can request an absentee ballot from the county clerk’s office.
Absentee ballots will be mailed out starting on Oct. 11 and until Nov. 4. These ballots must be returned to the county clerk’s office or to any one of the polling places by 7pm on Nov. 8.

If you’re itching to cast your vote early, starting on Oct. 11, you can vote at the county clerk’s annex building at 1500 Lomas NW. An additional
18 early voting locations open up from 8am-8pm starting Oct. 22 through Nov. 5.

Yet another option designed to promote voter registration and praxis is available to smart phone users who prefer texting as a method of getting things done. By visiting the site
hello.vote, citizens can send a text message to their device and thereby begin their voter registration experience, anytime or anywhere before this state’s Oct. 11 deadline. The site is run by a non-profit called Fight for the Future, whose stated goal is to protect and expand the internet’s transformative power in our lives.”

Do The Right Thing

Voting is a fundamental responsibility of living in a democratic country. If all of us gave ourselves permission to skip an election because we didn’t like the choices, think of how many elections there would be where only a few showed up to vote. Thousands of people, over generations, in countries across the globe have died or been imprisoned fighting for the right to vote. Even Bernie Sanders continues to ask his progressive followers to ditch their stubborn ideals: “We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger, not leadership which … divides us up.” Sanders recently said, “We have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution—our revolution—continues.”

Hillary Clinton may be an imperfect candidate. But she is qualified to be our next president, and will appoint competent professionals for every area. Trump is clearly not. Save your protest vote for next cycle when the risks to our future will likely not be so great.

Bring Everyone!

In all “get out the vote” advertisements, no one mentions the many people would like to vote who don’t have a car, or a computer, or know where they can go, or how to get an absentee ballot. Help them. The Trump threat is very real, and he wants a national policy allowing cops to stop and frisk you whenever they want. And the “you” is not upper middle class white males. It’s the rest of us, and that’s why we need to vote, and help everyone we know to also cast their votes.
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