If you don’t vote,

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 1999

don’t complain about results


Staff Writer

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Published Oct. 19, 1999

I am so proud of all the voters coming out last Tuesday to cast their vote for what they believed in. Whether it was for or against the lottery or for one of the other two amendments, at least you came out and put your two cents in the pot.

There was some discussion last week between some friends and me regarding whether or not you have the right to complain if you do not vote. I say that if you don’t vote, then you have no right to complain about the results. Their argument was that because they didn’t vote that it gives them the right to complain. I don’t think so.

If you have an opinion or feel strongly about something then you should let someone know. If no one knows how we feel then nothing changes.

I especially encourage women to get out and vote because our ancestors fought hard to get us that right. And in case you didn’t know, in numbers women are the majority in the United States. So just think what we could do if we could get every woman 18 and over to actually get out there and vote! Childcare and healthcare for women would not be an issue because we would have already made the necessary changes.

I remember going with my grandparents and my mother whenever they had to vote for something. I was little so I could see out from under the curtain while they cast their vote. There was an actual booth we went in and a curtain was pulled around us so no one could see what we were doing. They had to pull or push lots of little levers to vote for who they wanted. Then they would pull a big lever on the side of the machine and the curtain would open, meaning we were through.

Then when I became of age one of the first things I did was to register to vote. I voted in my first election that year. It was a presidential election and needless to say my candidate did not win, but I had the right to complain the next four years.

Nowadays it is a lot different and I don’t like it. I still go up to the little volunteers and they look for my name, but that is the last similarity between the good old days and now.

It was a lot different in Dothan last week where I went to vote. Now you get a huge piece of paper, another huge piece of paper and a big marker. There are no booths so you can cast your vote quietly and secretly. I was shown to a huge long table where others were sitting drawing on this huge piece of paper. After reading I discover that one of these huge pieces of paper is supposed to be used as a cover so you can vote in secret. Yeah right. You have to open the folder to draw on the paper to cast your vote, so it served no purpose. Then instead of making a check mark or "x" marks the spot, I had to use the big marker to "connect the dots" so to speak to complete the arrow pointing to my vote.

After finishing this kindergarten exercise, I was sent to a man standing at a machine that kept spitting a piece of paper back out at him after he inserted it as directed. After a while I tried my piece and luckily it went right in and was counted.

After this ordeal it was no secret to me as to why more people don’t come out and vote. It was ridiculous what my mother and I had to go through. Bring back the booths. Bring back organization. Bring in more voters.

I will always vote every chance I get. I hope you will too because our forefathers worked hard to get us that right. Don’t take that right for granted.

Remember there is a reason and a purpose for everything.

Amanda Bradley is a staff writer for The Messenger.