To vote or not to vote?

July 16, 2014

Editor’s note: The following is in response to the July 9-15, 2014, guest column “Why I didn’t vote in the last election,” by John Russell Ghrist.

The “Why I didn’t vote in the last election” guest column in the recent issue of The Rock River Times cries out for a response.

The writer’s own comments throughout the column detail the many reasons why we all should vote. He correctly acknowledges the service and sacrifice of the men and women in the armed forces, including his own father in World War II.

He goes on to point out all of the flaws in our system and in, at least some of, the available candidates. These are, unfortunately, valid criticisms. Without going into detail why we should vote for the best, if not the perfect, candidate, there is something we should consider. With all of its flaws, our system is still the best thing the world has seen throughout the evolution of civilization.

Even when there is only one candidate, or both candidates are unacceptable, there is still a value in our trip to the polls: the undervote.

Political analysts take a serious look at the number of voters who cast a ballot but did not vote for an individual candidate, or either candidate in a given position. A voter faced with no acceptable choice in a category can send a message by leaving a blank.

A high undervote number for a substandard candidate is the best support available for a better candidate to pursue that position.

The columnist closes his comments by indicating that he would vote in an election that would “completely clean house.” That approach would produce all new people, some good — some bad, but all rookies. A better choice is to take the time to learn about the candidates. Support the good ones and clear out the bad ones.

Ron Colson
Ogle County Board, District 7
Mt. Morris, Ill.

From the July 16-22, 2014, issue

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