Nothing gets attention more than your vote, whether you want to push for funding for our children's education, or whatever concerns you. Let your VOTE be hear on November 8th.
There is a very densely populated Jewish community in New York that always had State-wide candidates and presidential candidates visit them in election years. But as time went on they noticed they were receiving fewer and fewer visits. Everyone wanted to know why until they came across the following statistic. Only 23% of the possible voters in that community actually voted.
Why would a candidate waste his or her time campaigning in a community that doesn’t come out and vote?
One of the most frustrating responses I usually receive when asking a person if they voted is “Why should I – will it make a difference?”
The answer is obvious. Of course it will.
Elected officials don’t get elected unless they have one more vote than their opponent. Did we forget what happened in the 2000 Presidential election? It was the community of West Palm Beach that made the difference in Florida and allowed George Bush to finally become President of the United States.
And even if your candidate loses you will get over it. However, the fact that so many people voted for that candidate will make an impression on the winner. I have seen it happen. In one community they voted overwhelmingly for the incumbent Mayor who ended up losing. The new Mayor seeing such a large turn-out called the leadership the very next morning and began a warm relationship with that community. Its the vote that counts.
We live in one of the greatest Democracies in the history of the World. We are citizens of a Malchut Shel Chessed, a kind nation, which provides us the religious freedoms that our grandparents and great-grandparents who lived in Europe could only dream of.
There is one right that we all have, one that doesn’t cost any money. It doesn’t spend too much of our time, and it only occurs 2-3 times per year. It’s one that billions of people around the world wish they had and although many of us do participate - many others don’t take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
That’s the right to vote.
This year the entire State New Jersey State Legislature is up for election. We can complain all we want about what we don’t receive from the State, about the high cost of our taxes and the lack of financial support for our children’s education, but unless we are all registered to vote, and actually turn out to vote we will never see any change.
In one community in New Jersey, there was a less than 8% turn out at this year’s School Board elections. Because the approval of their School District budget for the upcoming year was also on the ballot that election decided how more than 60% of their property tax dollars will be spent. This community where so many people are struggling to pay their Day School tuition, had more than 90% of its residents choose not to spend 15 minutes to vote in an election that resulted in taxes costing each family at the very minimum over $8,000 this year. Apparently they didn’t find it an important use of their time so why would an elected official or board pay any attention to them?
Perhaps our community needs to become better educated on the importance of voting at every election. That is an initiative we at the OU hope to pursue during the next few months.
If we want to achieve legislation in our local municipalities and in Trenton that will help our communities, our families and our schools, then we have to prove to our elected officials and our legislators that we are involved in the electoral process. That we care about who represents us and the issues they pursue.
That we come out and vote.
For New Jersey residents, please visit: Links to New Jersey Voter Registration