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If You Don’t Vote Today, Live With My Choices | Susan Clary

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If You Don’t Vote Today, Live With My Choices | Susan Clary

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If You Don’t Vote Today, Live With My Choices
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 — Susan Clary

Voters will go to the polls today to decide who will serve them on county commissions, school boards and in courtrooms across Florida. They’ll also decide which state and federal primary candidates will advance to November’s general election. 

Voter turnout is expected to be lousy. Of Florida’s 11.5 million registered voters, fewer than 20 percent are expected to cast ballots, if that. 

The number dropped from 26 percent after the Republican-led Legislature moved up the usual September primary date to accommodate the GOP National Convention in Tampa. 

Either number is dismal, but people don’t protest in the streets over voter apathy, though they certainly should. It’s crazy that millions of people vote for the winner of American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, oftentimes paying to do so, yet we can’t get them vote for their county commissioner.

Lots of excuses come into play. It feels like 100-degrees outside, kids are going back to school and candidates in smaller races can’t compete with the millions of dollars dumped into TV and radio for the presidential race.

Most people feel voting is meaningless. So translating the excitement of reality-show competition into active citizenship remains elusive. Until we have a better campaign process, the numbers won’t go up anytime soon.

So here’s some food for thought. If you don’t cast your ballot today, you’re letting me decide for you. Heck, I have been deciding for you for years because I am a supervoter. That means I vote in every single election.

I am going to decide who is on your ballot in the general election. That’s great if you’re a liberal Democrat, but what if you’re not?

Think about the other Florida Voices columnists. Lloyd Brown, Henry Kelley, Steve Kurlander and Paula Dockery will vote tomorrow. They are conservatives. If you stay home, you’re letting them decide who serves you in Tallahassee. 

People have the misconception that if you aren’t with a specific party, you can’t vote today. That is untrue. Every county has nonpartisan races open to everyone or partisan races open to all voters.

Not only am I going to vote today and push my friends and family to vote, but I am going to knock on doors, make telephone calls, wave signs at precincts and offer rides to people who can’t get to their polling places.

After all this, if you decide to stay home this election, be sure to place a thick piece of tape over your mouth because you will have no voice.

A better choice is to not let me or anyone else make decisions for you. Vote.

Formerly a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and Orlando Sentinel, Susan Clary is a freelance writer in Orlando. She can be reached at [email protected]

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