Vote the Right Way
By Hal Lindsey
Are you sick of being told to vote? Celebrities, television networks, sports leagues, and businesses across the land seem to all be saying the same thing right now — VOTE. While I agree that every eligible voter should exercise that precious right, I want people to do more than just vote. I want voters to become informed. Citizens need to think through their votes and give them appropriate prayer.
In this election cycle, the message seems to be to vote on every ballot measure even if you have no idea what that ballot measure really means. In other words, they want you to vote based on vague impressions left by TV ads and yard signs. But voting is not like grabbing a snack among the impulse items along a supermarket checkout line. It’s serious. Votes change history.
The NFL is running an ad campaign that says, “Make your voter game plan.” On TV, they emphasize checking out various voting options. On the internet, they have a far better presentation. They say, 1) register, 2) check your ID requirements, 3) check your flexible voting options, 4) research your ballot, 5) vote.
Number 4 in their game plan — research your ballot — is crucial. Yet it seems to be missing from most get-out-the-vote campaigns. Without it, you might as well be throwing darts at your ballot. Look into the candidates and the issues. Ask questions. Pray.
But what if, for one reason or another, you are not able to do the research? Or maybe you can’t make up your mind on certain issues. Remember that it’s okay to vote only on the candidates and measures that you feel sure about. Suppose you have a strong opinion about the presidential race and maybe a few others, but don’t know about some of the more obscure ballot measures or maybe county judges. Not voting on every line of the ballot is called “undervoting.” It’s perfectly legal. In fact, it’s your right.
Ballot initiatives can be difficult and misleading. Friends in California tell me that if you want to read this year’s actual ballot measures for yourself, you will have a long slog. The 12 propositions on this year’s California ballot add up to 215 pages of sleep-inducing material.
Long, complicated measures discourage ordinary citizens from actually reading them. As a result, some people just don’t vote — even though they may feel strongly about their presidential candidate. That’s a mistake. Even if you can’t vote knowledgeably on the entire ballot, at least vote what you know.
There are many trustworthy organizations that offer helpful voter guides to people who lean in certain political directions. If you really trust them, allow them to give you some help. Just remember that some voter guides are designed to fool you. For instance, if they know you are a Republican, they might suggest you vote for some things that almost every Republican would be for. Then they might slip in a “yes” on something more obscure — something you might not really agree with. So, make sure your resources are trustworthy.
Remember, learn the issues and vote on everything if you can. But if you can’t knowledgeably vote on everything, at least vote for the candidates and measures you feel sure about.
In all this, keep praying for your country and your community.