Leadership Competencies

Today is Election Day and Your Vote DOES Matter!

When it comes to talk of elections and voting, there’s no shortage of cynics out there claiming your vote not only doesn’t count, it doesn’t matter. Don’t buy it, even for a second.

Your voteEarly in my career, I worked in political campaigns from school committee races to presidential contests. I once heard a story about a man who lost a local election by a handful of votes, only to learn later that seven members of his extended family (assuming he would win and that their votes wouldn’t make a difference) didn’t get to the polls that day. It was one of many gut-wrenching election anecdotes I would hear over the years.

Of course voters don’t just matter in small races, they matter in big ones too. While an obvious example is the 2000 presidential election, earlier this year, there was a high profile congressional race that sent shockwaves across the country. Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suffered a stunning loss in the Republican primary.   Stunning because he was number 2 in the Republican leadership, and only two years earlier, received nearly 80% of the vote in his district.   By June of 2014, after outspending his opponent by roughly 40-1, Cantor would learn that money, name recognition, and TV ads don’t decide elections.  Voters do.

The cynics say your vote doesn’t matter. They say we’ve become a society where we talk more than listen, debate more than dialogue, and favor gridlock over compromise.  We have an election process dominated by negative ads and big money, and a political system (and a news media) that punishes leaders who have the “temerity” to work together for the common good of the country. Is there some truth in this description?  Sure.  Is it demoralizing at times? You bet. The solution, however, doesn’t lay in assigning blame, instigating fear, or telling people their vote doesn’t count. It rests with us on election day.

Today is your day. Thirty-six senate seats, 435 congressional seats, 36 governorships, and a host of other statewide and county offices are at stake. The winners will be leading this nation in one capacity or another, so be sure to weigh in. Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of life is showing up.” Turns out, it’s 100% of what decides elections.

We live in an amazing country where, through peaceful elections rather than violence, our citizens have the power to choose our government. Celebrate that with your vote today.

Category: Leadership Competencies

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Avatar About the Author: Leo Bottary

Leo J. Bottary is an adjunct professor for two of Seton Hall University's graduate level programs in strategic communication and leadership.  Leo has enjoyed a 25-year career counseling leaders in the areas of strategic comm…

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