With exactly two weeks to go until Election Day 2022, attention and enthusiasm are building around the country. In fact, with the proliferation of mail balloting and early voting, millions of Americans have already made their decisions.
A surge in ballots in October doesn’t necessarily translate to a record turnout in November, though it’s a strong indication citizens are interested and engaged. By this time in a campaign, the ground game becomes key and king. Candidates and supporters of specific initiatives are distributing fliers, ringing doorbells, calling homes and standing on street corners with signs promoting their choice.
It all comes down to who turns out.
“Elections belong to the people,” said Abraham Lincoln. “It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Voter apathy has long been a challenge in campaigns. With that in mind, here are three myths that regularly rear their ugly head each election cycle:
- “My one vote doesn’t matter”
With over one hundred million votes expected to be cast in the midterm elections, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking my one vote won’t make a difference. But every vote does matter, and there have been instances when elections have come down to one person’s ballot.
With 23,000 votes cast in a Virginia House of Delegates race back in 2017, a tie resulted in the eventual winner being picked out of a film cannister. In 2016, two state races in Vermont came down to a single vote. That same year in New Mexico, a state house race was decided by 2 votes – out of 14,000 ballots cast.
It’s true that razor-thin outcomes are rare, but they’re not unheard of. Your vote does more than add to a tally, though. Your vote communicates that you care and that you’re paying attention. It also demonstrates to your children and neighbors that our civic responsibility matters.
- “Elections aren’t safe and secure. Why should I bother?”
Election security is top of mind these days, especially with the expansion of mail balloting and the explosion of new technology such as digital polling places. Reports of voter fraud should be investigated promptly and thoroughly. No system is entirely and completely fail-safe, especially with fallen people running elections. But with the implementation of additional safeguards and inclusion of more poll watchers, states have pledged a renewed emphasis on ensuring that every legal vote is counted.
During his years of negotiating with the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan liked to frame his approach by quoting an old Russian phrase – “Doveryai, no proveryai” or ”Trust, but verify.” Likewise, we should enthusiastically exercise our right to vote while simultaneously holding our election officials accountable for making sure the process is fair and legal.
- “What difference does it make? Politicians are all the same.”
I heard this cynical bromide a lot growing up in New York, where many officials would pledge to clean up corruption – only to get caught up in it once elected. There’s no doubt that Lord Acton’s warning is popular because it’s been prescient – “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But it’s incumbent upon us as voters to study the candidates and determine who best represents your worldview.
There are stark differences between candidates when it comes to vital matters regarding the sanctity of life, belief in marriage and support of religious freedom. No candidate will be perfect, and few might match up precisely with your own personal list of convictions. But we must do our best to select the best people who most closely align with our values.
Elections and policies matter because they impact people. “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice,” we read in Proverbs. “When the wicked rule, the people groan” (29:2).
Would you rather rejoice or groan? Come November 8th, your vote will help determine which path the nation will take.