Familiar excuse for not voting: The choices on the ballot are too limited.
That alibi sounds like an especially wide stretch for Tuesday’s primaries to pick a new representative from the 1st Congressional District.
That’s because 18 candidates are running to replace Tim Scott, who was promoted to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Nikki Haley after Jim DeMint resigned from the upper chamber with four years left in his second term.
So before claiming that none of the 16 Republicans and neither of the two Democrats seeking that U.S. House office rate your vote, answer this question:
Are you sure?
Even if you find the quality of that 1½-dozen-candidates field lacking, you can’t credibly contend that its ample quantity does present plenty of alternatives.
And if you plan to wait for an almost-certain GOP runoff (with 16 people running, for any of them to capture a majority is an extremely long shot) on April 2 or the general election on May 7, plan on this, too:
At least 15 of the 18 candidates will already be eliminated by the time you have your say.
In other words, if you think your choices are limited Tuesday, just wait until the next round. And if you’re waiting for the ideal candidate before you deign to vote again, you’re in for a long wait.
Too bad so many Americans don’t bother to vote.
Despite a presidential race that many experts deemed too close to call going into Election Day, U.S. voter turnout last November fell to less than 60 percent of those eligible to cast ballots.
Some Americans, at least somewhat fairly, blamed long lines.
But there’s an underlying inconsistency in the argument that you don’t vote because it makes no difference.
The truth is, when you don’t vote, you make no difference.
So maybe you’re not sold on anybody from either party’s 1st District primary roster.
So what? One of those 18 people is still going to represent us in the U.S. House.
And if you don’t vote Tuesday, you won’t be one of the people making the crucial decision of which person that will be.
So while it’s certainly your right to abstain from our hard-won, underappreciated, self-governing process, understand that you’re wrong if you imagine who wins — and who loses — is irrelevant. After all, many critical issues are decided by very few votes — at times only one — in the halls of legislative power.
And when you choose not to help choose our next member of Congress, that means other folks will.
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