California Forum

The Conversation

Tuesday’s election gave all citizens who registered to vote the opportunity to elect representatives to school boards, city councils and state and federal government and other offices. Turnout was low in California, even for a midterm election. Last Sunday’s Conversation asked the questions:

Did you vote or are you planning to vote? If you did vote, why? If you are not voting, why not?


Why I don’t vote anymore

Re “Feeling the power of voting” (Forum, Nov. 2): I came to the conclusion several years ago that the U.S. is no longer the democratic republic envisioned by the Founding Fathers and described in the Constitution. In a democratic republic, every citizen of the republic is guaranteed full representation by a legally elected officer of the state. Perhaps that model existed in America once, but our political system today is a DRINO: Democratic Republic In Name Only.

The polling place where Shawn Hubler cast her first vote is an apt metaphor for the state of our republic: a weak structure comprised for the most part of sell-outs to big enterprises draped in a half-hearted homage to patriotism. The only reason for a citizen to vote is because they know that vote is meaningful. My perception of politics in America is that every vote is for sale.

Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, believes that biggest challenge to voter participation is motivation. Having surveyed America’s political landscape for several decades, my problem is not motivation. My problem is that participating in our sham democracy only reinforces the lie that our system of government is working.

That’s why I don’t vote anymore.

Jeff Quandt, Orangevale

From Facebook

Cathy Froom Johnston – Of course I’m voting. It’s a hard won right and my responsibility as a citizen.

Rob Maurer Your vote means nothing

Phoebe Bolduc Crais – My grandmother was not allowed to vote until she was 34 years old. She voted every election for the next 56 years. I vote every election in her honor. Voting is the most precious right that we have and those who are too busy or too lazy to vote should be ashamed of themselves. Each person has the ability to make change happen. If you are disgusted with the way things are in government, vote. We must reform the current political financing laws to stop special interest groups from influencing elections with false information and the half-truths of sound bites. Be a true American, register then vote. Our country needs you to care.

Shirley Ryan – I feel that voting is like jury duty. It is our obligation to participate in both.

Kesha York-Jenkins – Yes, I voted simply because it’s not a right that was always afforded to people of color. And whether I agree or disagree with the candidates or the proposed propositions, my voice will be heard via my ballot.

Enid Costa Williams – Always will vote and always have voted. Hard won right and privilege.

Robyn Brassard – I vote for the future of me and my daughter

Evelyn Villanueva – My grandfather was undocumented, he reminded me constantly, what a privilege it was to vote. Yes, I voted.

Virginia Rodriguez – I am not going to say whether I will vote or not, but I do want to share why I believe: It’s hard to get people to vote. Primarily because many, many people have given up hope on our governments’ ability or willingness to do the will of the people.

Fran Miller Pepoon – I voted because it’s the only way I have to participate in this government. Politicians stopped listening to their constituents a long time ago. Now they only hear the sound of money, so if I don’t vote, I am voiceless.

Ken Thorne – I voted, though I feel it’s senseless and fixed.

Paul Thatcher – I voted, and I will every time. I believe it’s my duty and right to voice my opinion in this peaceful manner.

David Martinez – I have not missed voting since 1972; it is my duty to vote.

Edie Gordy – I have voted in every election since I turned 18, no matter where I lived. What I hate is when those who don’t vote complain. I got out of my chair and voted for high speed rail, right or wrong, but I exercised my right to vote. … There are people in this world who are still dying for the right to vote and risk death as they stand in hours-long lines simply to vote.

Aimee Pfaff – Yes, I voted by absentee ballot even though I know it won’t do a bit of good.

Darlene C. Matthews – Can’t complain if you don’t vote, and I have a lot to complain about.

Kathy Gerry – Yes I voted. It is a right and privilege that many countries still don’t have. I also try and read about the issues and candidates. I am not swayed by TV commercials.

Eve Meegan Allen – I don’t vote. I was taught in school every vote counts, then you grow up and realize that it is all a sham. Who counts the votes, how do we know they are the correct numbers? We don’t.

Rennie James – I always vote, it is my responsibility as an American citizen to participate in our country’s government. And, I vote at the polls to ensure my ballot is counted and not discarded due to subjective elimination, as my signature changes as I age.