ELECTION 2020 SERIES - VOTING 101
Why Vote? The American form of representative government is very unique. We elect just about every person of authority that makes decisions on our behalf. The simple answer to the question “why vote?” is: “because we can.” It’s actually not that common to have a stake in the leaders that rule over us in all the facets that we do in our country. It’s worth exercising our ability to vote.
- Vote so that Biblical values might be instilled in our country. This can be drastically influenced simply by a large proportion of Christian voters actually making it to the polls. Nearly 2/3 of Americans “identify” as Christians so even if half of that group votes, electing candidates that honor God is not that tall of a task.
- Vote so that worldly values and evil policies and legislation are not enacted. Remember to think not just in the short term but the long term. What about your kids or grandkids?
Below is a breakdown from the Pew Research Center of voter turnout for 2016 & 2018. Comparatively, these are actually good numbers. Still, nearly ¾ of all eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 primaries, 40% of eligible voters failed to vote in the 2016 presidential election, and half stayed home for the 2018 midterms. As you can see, elections can easily be influenced if Christians simply get out to vote.
2016 Voter Turnout – Pew Research Ctr*
2016 Primaries – 28.5% | 2016 Election – 60.2% | 2018 Midterms – 50.3%
Consider, too, the chart to the left, why people chose not to vote in the last cycle. Not liking candidates or campaign issues (25%), apathy (15%), being too busy (14%) or even forgetting that it’s election day (3%) are absurd reasons to stay home.
Voting The way we vote, consider issues, and traverse party lines is also important. To make it simple, there are five ways that people typically vote in elections. Below is a breakdown of each of these classes of voters. 1. Partisan Voters – These voters are “grandfathered” in to a particular party, either by learning this style of voting from parents or peers, or being coerced to do so by a labor union or similar group. This voting bloc tends to not be that informed or involved – they simply and consistently vote for leaders that occupy would-be offices in the party with which they associate.
2. Ignorant Voters – These voters quite simply don’t know much other than what they’re told… by the media, their friends, their parents… etc. Young, impressionable academics make up a considerable piece of this voting bloc
3. Self Interest Voters – This bloc is more informed than the former examples, but will often vote for candidates who propel policies that benefit them personally. A perfect example of this is the tendency for Northern Virginia voters to overwhelmingly elect Democrats. Democrats, the party often linked to “big government,” would insure that all of those people who commute to D.C for work will keep their jobs and benefits!
4. Big Picture Voters – This group is usually more informed than any, and one that has the foresight, and dare I say the humility, to vote according to what they determine is best for the country now and in the future. This group cares less about candidates that might help them personally and more about future generations and national welfare.
5. Principle Voters – This bloc is carried to the poll booth by conviction. These voters, who are often religious, have certain uncompromising positions on social issues. This is typically an unwavering group and one that prioritizes issues according to their importance or prominence within their beliefs. It might be obvious to you that the first three voting tendencies above are of a lesser caliber than the bottom two. The question then, if you consider where you fall in this list, is where would God have you and what things are most important to him come election day?
Types of Elections & Why They’re All Important From the President of the United States all the way down to local magistrates, each office holds importance, whether they’re carrying out justice, confirming court picks, drafting legislation, or voting on and passing important bills and/or amendments.
- Held every other Spring (date depending in your state) - Decides party candidates for the Fall General Election - PA is a closed primary state, which means you can only vote for candidates in the same political party noted on your voter registration - Voters can also decide on ballot questions, constitutional amendments, etc.
- Held every other first Tuesday of November - Decides federal, state, and local seats, including U.S. Senate and U.S. Representatives, Governor, Lt. Governor, County & City Officials, Judges & Magistrates, etc. - Every four years the General Election is also a Presidential Election.
- Elections that can be held in any season to fill a position that can no longer be manned
General elections that occur in the middle of a Presidential term, i.e if a President was elected in 2016, the Mid-Term would occur in 2018, two years before the next Presidential election. Pennsylvania Primary Date: NOW June 2nd – DEADLINE TO REGISTER: NOW May 18th General Election Voting Date: November 3rd – DEADLINE TO REGISTER: October 5th
-JF D'Orsie - Communications Director