Two days ago, as I walked up to the Ohio Union for lunch, I was approached by a young man asking about my voter registration. This is nothing new on a university campus, of course.
In the brief discussion we had about my registration, he reasoned that I should register in Ohio instead of my home state of West Virginia. Why? Because Ohio has more electoral votes in the general presidential election, and therefore my vote would mean more.
This last sentiment bothers me greatly. After all, if we believe in a democratic America, one in which everyone has an equal voice, then why should I want my vote to be worth more than someone else’s? Am I that much better informed or more intelligent simply by virtue of now residing in Ohio? Were I in New York, would I become even better qualified to help select the president for the next four years?
And even if I were better qualified in some way, does it matter? Does a poorly-educated person not deserve his or her voice in our society?
This concept of trying to get the most bang for my voting buck defies the spirit of democracy.
Further, what do I know about Ohio’s politics? I just moved here in August. And while that has little to do with my choice on my presidential ballot, it affects all the other decisions a voter is asked to make. Do we really want to encourage people to vote in Ohio when they might know little or nothing about this fine state and its best interests? This focus on the big ticket, to the exclusion of the remainder of the ballot, could do Columbus and Ohio a lot more harm than good.
No, I will not be registering in Ohio this year. Maybe next year. But I cannot do it in good conscience yet, mostly because I still believe in the United States of America, and in the ideals of a democratic state and society.