• September 2011

Be Optimistic: Vote!

By Pamela Ray
Government Relations Expert
Pamela Ray & Associates, LLC

I am always amazed that so many Americans don’t vote.

According to Voting and Registration Data / US Census 2008, voter turnout for the United States was 58 percent. That means 42 percent of people didn’t vote. Why?

Numerous studies outline the numerous reasons why, but I still don’t understand the trend. After all, your vote is your voice. It’s also your privilege, your right—and your obligation.

So I am going to issue all of our Be Inkandescent Magazine readers a challenge: Make the election of 2012 the one where you get out to the polls and cast your ballot. It just may change the direction of the country.

Here are some statistics to consider.

1. In the past, when unhappy with the direction of our country and leaders, a majority of voters still believed that their own representative was good enough to re-elect.

2. Historically, the re-election of incumbents is usually 90 percent or above.

3. In the 2010 Congressional election, a whopping 85 percent of the members of the US House Representatives were re-elected by the voters at a time when the overriding presidential theme was “change.” Is it possible this trend may change in 2012?

What will a Congress and White House look like if voters reflect the following sentiments at the polls in November 2012?

  • Only 13 percent of Americans approve of how Congress is doing its job.
  • Only 41 percent of Americans approve of the way the president is handling his job.
  • Only 26 percent approve of his handling of the nation’s economy.
  • Only 24 percent approved of his handling of the federal budget deficit.

The awareness of the American people as expressed in this August 2011 poll clearly indicates a nation that is extremely disappointed and in-touch with the lack of leadership shown by our elected leaders, from the president to all corners of the US Congress.

When you believe there is a lack of rational leadership, you have to lead yourself.

The key is to use that vote, in November 2012, as your voice to elect those with courage to do what is right for our country rather than what is politically correct or the foundation for the political “spin.”

The velocity of the news cycle (or perhaps the growing commentary) can whipsaw you with every hourly news cycle. So, check your facts and don’t stand down.

Here are some resources to help you study up on the facts:
www.factcheck.org
www.politifact.com
www.snopes.com

So pay attention, and stay in touch. Your vote is your voice in November 2012.

For information on voting in your state, check out www.vote411.org.


About Pam Ray

Ray has more than three decades of in-depth experience in policy and politics, with expertise in congressional budget/appropriations and federal grant programs. Her policy experience includes housing and community development, housing finance, transit/transportation, taxes, and trade. With a focus on bridging the knowledge gap between elected officials and their constituents, Ray has achieved success in her own government relations business for 15 years and for elected officials in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs (1989-95), and the NYS Senate-Federal Affairs Office (1986-1989). For more information, visit www.pamrayllc.com.