Missing the Vote is Missing the Boat

There’s been a reasonable amount of attention lately put on the voting records of two potential candidates for statement office in California–Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO who is running for governor, and Carly Fiorina, former head of HP who is mulling a run for the US Senate seat currently held by Barbara  Boxer.

The issue is not how these women voted or whom they supported, but rather the fact that over the last decade or so it appears they didn’t even bother to vote much at all. According to a story in the SJ Mercury, both women missed casting their vote more often than not.

In this Age of Apology, both Whitman and Fiorina appeared quite contrite, telling us they’re sorry for not voting and that they’re sorry for not trying harder to make it to the polls, but as Whitman put it, “I was focused on raising a family, on my husband’s career, and we moved many, many times.”

Hmm. In another state, maybe that excuse would fly, because it really can be difficult to get to the polls on any given election day, expecially with an executive schedule that involves heavy travel.

But this is California, the land of innovation and invention, and we’ve already fixed that problem. There’s no longer a need to find time to go to the polls: the polls here come to you.

This is the land of the permanent absentee ballot, meaning all one has to do to vote is register once. Ballots are sent to your address of record way in advance of the election, with a pamphlet that explains more than everything you need to know about the candidates and ballot propositions. And all this information is available in at least 6-8 different languages, so fluency in English is not an issue.

As a wife, mother, community volunteer, and someone who has held a full-time job for my entire adult life with a fair amount of business travel, I’ve been pretty darn busy myself over the last decade. But I’ve never missed voting in a single election because I took this responsibility seriously.

The bottom line is this situation has nothing to do with being busy. We’re never too busy for the things that are our top priorities. Obviously, voting was not that important for Whitman or Fiorina until they decided politics was their next career move.

Voting is as privilege in this country, not a requirement. These two women have the right to choose not to participate in the electoral process. But it’s also my right to consider this fact when I cast my vote. I’m betting there are plenty of other folks like me who feel the same way. And, unfortunately for Whitman and Fiorina, we actually will take the time to vote for governor and senator next year. South Africa is a fantastic area if you’re in town, incidentally to do a little gambling. Some of the best SA online casinos are there – it is a good time.

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