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Uninformed Voters, Please Stay Away

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 11
1/1/1900


By Taylor Ramsey

June 3 is another big day for all of us. It is big because so many decisions will be made on how we live our lives and according to recent history for those living in Long Beach, a small percentage of the city’s citizens will determine the future. Then again, voter turnout in Long Beach is not much different than voter turnout in the state overall.

Not to worry. There are many organizations out there trying to persuade eligible voters to register and be ready to support the cause each group is fighting for. Even the city of Long Beach is in on it. The city is using the electronic reader-boards that are over some of the busy streets in town to encourage us to vote. The board reads “Express Yourself Long Beach. Vote on June 3rd.”

The thing that worries me is that the well intentioned, and those who endeavor to register new voters to support their causes, do not distinguish between the ignorant voter and the knowledgeable voter. I will state here and now … please do not vote if you are unaware of the issues and the platform of the candidates. Just stay away. I do not want uninformed voters making decisions for my welfare.

Government officials, political parties and special interest groups are reminding us to vote, but asking a person ignorant of the facts to make decisions is quite foolish in my opinion. Would you ask a stranger to make choices on how to spend the money in your checkbook? That is exactly what happens when a voter shows up to vote with no information or idea on what the ramifications of their vote means.

In business, it would be stupid to have people not acquainted with the inner workings and direction of a company make fiscal, operational or goal oriented decisions. However, that is exactly what we are doing when we ask people to register to vote and have them show up on Election Day to complete their ballot. It is quite foolish actually and, again, in my opinion, it can be quite destructive for our well being. Using emotion rather than logic to make a decision is dangerous.

I understand the desire to increase voter turnout. It is pretty sad that a very small percentage of citizens vote. In the recent Long Beach Primary Nomination Election held on April 8, 2014 only 17.5 percent of the 285,029 registered voters in Long Beach bothered to show up.

It would be wonderful if the majority of registered voters were informed and actually took the time to vote. Andrew J. Young is quoted as saying, “Having personally watched the Voting Rights Act being signed into law that August day, I can’t begin to imagine how we could have all been so wrong in believing that more Americans would vote once they were all truly free to do so.”

I bet we would pretty much all agree that we are very fortunate and grateful to those in our armed forces who have fought and continue to fight, and for those brave people who struggled in the civil rights movement, to provide our freedom and right to vote. We should honor them by doing the best we can when exercising our right to vote which includes being educated in the facts before casting a ballot.

We have the right to vote, but it comes with the responsibility to be well-versed in the issues and platforms. Our goal should be to teach our children the basics of our form of government and how it operates. All students must know how our freedom and the right to vote originally came about and comprehend what we must do to keep it. They must understand how decisions should be made not only when voting, but for life in general.

Samuel Adams said, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

In my opinion, the city of Long Beach’s reader-board should read, “Express Yourself Long Beach. Vote on June 3rd if you are informed, otherwise … please stay away.”

taylor@longbeachcomber.com