No matter how tired you are or how inconvenient it may be for you, please make sure you vote on or before Tuesday. It doesn’t matter how disinterested, disappointed, or disenfranchised you feel right now, not voting will only make your sense of alienation worse. And while getting to the polls may be a serious challenge for those of us who live in Hurricane Sandy-affected areas, remember who we vote for, in part, determines FEMA funding and how the next natural disaster is handled.

If you live in a swing state you hopefully know how important it is to vote AND make sure everyone you know does the same. If you live in a traditionally “blue” or “red” state don’t assume that your state’s electoral votes are in the bag for either party and that you can stay at home. Contrary to what the poll-saturated nightly news may tell you, there’s no default color for any region; actual votes are still required for a state to go one way or another.

I was volunteering at the Obama 2012 headquarters in my neighborhood, the famously liberal Upper West Side of Manhattan, last weekend and I can’t tell you how may people walked by our street post with disturbing comments. “Are you paying your fair share?” one passerby yelled. “Four more years of that guys and this country is going to socialist hell,” another said. One man hit his son’s hand as he reached for a Obama button we were selling and told him not to touch it. “We don’t like him,” he warned. A volunteer who lives on the more Republican-leaning Upper East Side of Manhattan told the rest of us about signs of the President with a Hitler mustache up at that area’s Romney headquarters … in NYC! This served as a reminder to all of us not to take anything for granted.

Besides determining the Leader of the Free World, let’s not forget the down-ticket items on your 2012 ballot. The obstructionist politics that characterized President’s Obama’s first four years in office demonstrated how important it is pay attention to and also vote for your State Legislatures and members of Congress.

And many states have ballot initiatives and propositions that require your full attention. From charter school funding to the legalization of medical marijuana and ending the death penalty, federal change almost always starts at the local level so don’t underestimate how important these decisions can be.

Go to Vote411 to learn more about your local elections.

Our ancestors fought and died so that our voices can be heard so don’t disrespect their sacrifice or struggle by blowing off your civic duty. Your vote matters, in so many ways, no matter where you live or what the pundits say.


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