Why you should vote

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Opinion - ANN WEISS Stam­ford res­i­dent Ann Weiss is a mem­ber of WOW (Women on Watch).

WOW (Women on Watch) is a 10-year-old grass­roots po­lit­i­cal ini­tia­tive — work­ing on key lo­cal, state and na­tional is­sues. WOW is join­ing with the League of Women Vot­ers, In­di­vis­i­ble, Stam­ford Plus, Moms De­mand Ac­tion and the NAACP to mount a city wide voter reg­is­tra­tion/voter turnout cam­paign. Our ob­jec­tive is to push for greater voter reg­is­tra­tion and turnout for the Nov. 6 gen­eral elec­tion.

Why are we do­ing this?

In the Novem­ber 2017 may­oral cam­paign, 75 per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers did not bother to vote. This poor turnout at the polls is dis­grace­ful, be­cause, as you all know, all pol­i­tics is lo­cal. It’s the lo­cal vote that’s most im­por­tant to our lives as Stam­ford res­i­dents.

Lo­cal elec­tion re­sults af­fect ev­ery as­pect of our lives — our taxes, our schools, our roads, our traf­fic, po­lice and fire and much more. We should care about who wins! Poor turnout of­ten means that can­di­dates of the ex­treme right or ex­treme left win — and con­sen­sus pol­i­tics be­comes al­most im­pos­si­ble.

WOW es­ti­mates that about 12,500 el­i­gi­ble res­i­dents of Stam­ford are not reg­is­tered. Our groups are de­ter­mined to whit­tle down that num­ber. And you can help us! How?

There are times when you don’t vote be­cause you don’t like ei­ther can­di­date. Look at it this way — one of those can­di­dates is go­ing to win. So vote for the can­di­date that stands for most of the is­sues you care for. It’s not the per­son­al­ity of the can­di­date — it’s the is­sues!

Why don’t peo­ple vote? Many say “my vote does not count.” Well, it sure does in a close elec­tion. Ask the woman in Vir­ginia who lost by one vote. Ask the woman in Stam­ford who lost her re-elec­tion bid by three votes. Many of her friends said “Oh, we were so sure you would win that we didn’t bother to vote.

Your vote counts as much as the per­son who con­trib­uted a mil­lion dol­lars to the can­di­date. Your vote has the same weight as the vote of ev­ery other ci­ti­zen. Rich or poor, young or old, male or fe­male, black, white, Latino or Asian — each vote is equally im­por­tant.

Many say they do not know enough about the can­di­dates or the is­sues. In the In­ter­net age — where so much in­for­ma­tion is on­line — that is a poor ex­cuse. All can­di­dates have a web­site, at the very least a Face­book page — where their po­si­tions are laid out — what they are for, what they are against. There is the Stam­ford Ad­vo­cate. There is Chan­nel 12 lo­cal news. There are de­bates — where you can go to size up the can­di­dates and their is­sues.

If the can­di­dates are cur­rently in Congress, go to congress.gov to find out how they voted on bills, their roles and ac­tiv­i­ties in Congress.

In this age of “Fake News” and Al­ter­na­tive Facts, check the can­di­dates an­swers by go­ing to Factcheck.org that mon­i­tors the accuracy of can­di­date’s state­ments.

At­tend lo­cal town halls to size up your can­di­date.

En­cour­age fam­ily mem­bers, friends, and neigh­bors to reg­is­ter and vote.

As we say in WOW — “Democ­racy is NOT a spec­ta­tor sport.” Democ­racy re­quires voter par­tic­i­pa­tion. Vot­ing is not only an im­por­tant right — it’s an im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­ity. We hope you will join us in our ef­forts to reg­is­ter more vot­ers, and then in­spire those vot­ers to make them­selves heard.

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