The question “Did you vote?” is viral. It feels good when someone asks me that question, and I feel good asking you: Did you vote?

It feels good because voting tells everyone that you care enough to leave work—not always easy—and do something that contributes to the greater good. You should ask that question today–it's a great way to connect.

51 replies
  1. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    Yes! The excitement was palpable at my polling place at my local elementary school, where there’s normally not another person in sight when I vote (other than the kindly seniors who work as election volunteers). Today there were people streaming in and out, and I actually had to wait 5-10 mins. This is a good thing for our country! Let your voice be heard: V*O*T*E

  2. Jenn S.
    Jenn S. says:

    YES! I got in line at 5:45am in Chicago, and was the 20th person in line. By the time I left at 6:20 – the line was out the door, and beginning to snake around the building. I love the energy of election day!

  3. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    I didn’t vote because the line was too long this morning and at this rate I’m probably not going to vote at all. While I’m not totally apolitical (I’d vote for Obama if (when?) I voted) I have to say that I’m not so passionate about it as to be willing to stand in line for any amount of time to do it. I know, shame on me–admitting you didn’t vote carries a bigger stigma than admitting you hit your kid or worse. Call me cynical but I just don’t put too much stock in one person being able to change the country in 4 years.

  4. Don B.
    Don B. says:

    Maggie one vote can count. The recount of an election where I grew up was a one vote victory for a terrible candidate that ruined the City for decades. I will concede I had it easier as I left work at a convenient time in the morning, waiting in a one person line for five seconds, and then voted on a paper ballot for about twenty seconds before the long four mile drive back to work. They will open the wooden box this evening and phone/email the vote into the State within a few hours. Turnout here is high as usual.

  5. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    @Maggie and Taylor – duh, this kind of apathy is why we’re stuck with dismal leaders who don’t reflect the true sentiment of our country! As Americans, we have fought long and hard for the rights inherent in democracy. To say it “feels good” to snub your nose at it, or that waiting in line once every 4 years is just too much trouble, these are sad excuses. Shame on you both :(

  6. Dave
    Dave says:

    Voting, not voting…is kind of like all the many little decisions we make. Others are feeling the same way–that their vote doesn’t “count” but it is kind of like people (myself included) who only watch the last baseball game of the world series because it is the only one that “matters.” Every act of participation matters as part of an ongoing process. You never know what will come from the small acts you take today on the faith that doing what little you can do right now can make a difference. Every time we defy the cynacism…it matters…and the sum of those little actions is what can move the world.

  7. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    If the politicians know young people vote, they’ll be more concerned about issues of interest to young people. If they know metropolitan professionals are voting in big numbers, those groups will be listened to in the future. If only aging baby boomers and retirees are voting, then they’ll receive most of the attention from law makers — as they should if they’re the only ones voting.

    So vote.

    As for me, I’m a dual citizen of the US and Canada, so have been doing a lot of voting lately. I voted by mail about 3 weeks ago for today’s election.

  8. Lane
    Lane says:

    @ Maggie: I didn’t think one vote mattered either until 2004. In 2004, according to something I read, Kerry carried Wisconsin by an average of one vote per precinct. That means that each vote made a huge difference (I’m not saying whether it was good or bad difference).

    Imagine if all the other people in the nation that thought their voice didn’t count had voted? Perhaps each one of their votes would have made a colossal difference.

  9. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    Well I didn’t vote, since I’m not a US citizen or resident. But I definitely would have voted if I could have.

    I passionately that not voting is a betrayal of democracy and everything our ancestors fought for – our grandmothers threw themselves under horses to win the vote for women, so the least I can do is use it.

    Australia actually has compulsory voting, which I believe is a good thing because I do believe voting it’s not just a right but a duty. Of course, if you don’t like any of the candidates, you can spoil your ballot paper but you do have to turn up and get your name marked off the list. It’s a lot easier to do this because you can vote at any polling booth anywhere in the country (or state if it’s just a state election) and our elections are always on a Saturday when most people have the day off work.

    As Americans the real question you should be asking is not did you vote but will your vote count? And I don’t mean in a one vote making a difference kind of way, I mean in a massive fraud and failure of systems kind of way.

    Check out this shocking article: http://www.truthout.org/110308A

    and this is kinda bad too:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27524302/?GT1=43001

    The other thing we do in Australia by the way (not that Australia is perfect but it’s the obvious point of reference for me), is that we have a scrutineer system for vote counting. All votes are marked by hand (no hanging chads by definition) and then counted by hand (obviously this is only possible because our population is 20 million, not 300 million). The votes are counted by officials from the Australian Electoral Commission but in every electorate all the parties send volunteers as scrutineers to watch the votes being counted.

  10. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    By the way when Maggie said she didn’t think one person could make a big difference in 4 years, I thought she was speaking about whether Obama can have that big an impact, not whether one voter can make a difference.

  11. Adrienne
    Adrienne says:

    I got in line at 8:00am and was on my merry way having happily voted by 8:35. My polling place was a little crazy as it was an elementary school and there were children running everywhere, but everyone seemed content to be there in line. Election day is so exciting!

  12. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I love to vote, I did vote, and I did connect with myself and the poll workers I know personally since my mother was a poll worker herself at one time. I wouldn’t miss the experience for anything because the other option is not thinkable for me.

  13. Chris
    Chris says:

    Not only did I vote, but I also got my free cup of coffee at Starbucks and I’m trying to figure out how to squeeze in a trip to Ben and Jerry’s for my ice cream entitlement.

    Do you think Obama will require everyone earning over $250K buy coffee and ice cream for the rest of us if he is elected?

    Do you think McCain will choose Ben or Jerry for Secretary of State to pander to his ice-cream loving base if he is elected?

  14. Tom G.
    Tom G. says:

    I voted early last week. There is folded American flag on the mantle in my den that reminds that I always must vote.

  15. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I voted via absentee ballot in Washington State. I missed waiting in line with all of the other voters though! This is only me second time voting in a presidential election. My husband and I are planning an election marathon tonight!

  16. Jess
    Jess says:

    I voted several weeks ago (am out of the country on an expat assignment, cast my ballot at the US Embassy). As someone else mentioned, the pure ENERGY on election day is palpable. I love it!

  17. Peter Fletcher
    Peter Fletcher says:

    I didn’t vote today, not because I didn’t want to, but because I’m not permitted. You see I am an Australian living far, far away who’s hope was to see Obama win. I can’t begin to express how happy I am to see the USA make such a beautiful and inspired choice for President. I believe the whole world has a chance to turn a new page of peace, freedom, and hope.

  18. Juki Schor
    Juki Schor says:

    I also would have voted if I lived in the States. Not everybody is probably happy with the result, but I feel it is like Obama said: You got a chance for change and it seems he is very dedicated to change things (although I am still not clear how exactly this is going to look like); and it is now up to you to achieve this and I personally hope it will really “turn a new page of peace, freedom and hope” as Peter wrote.

    Interesting again for me to see that in a careerist context it is not about asking “Did you vote today” in order to motivate people to vote or just out of curiosity, but because this “tells everyone that you care enough…and do something that contributes to the greater good… and is a good way to connect”. Image is important and politics is everywhere, it seems to me.

  19. sophie
    sophie says:

    To those who didn’t vote: Imagine living in countries where you didn’t vote because you COULDN’T vote. Or, Maggie, imagine the U.S. women who fought for our right to vote.

    To those who didn’t vote: You’d better not utter one word of complaint in the next four years. If you can’t voice your opinion with a vote, you can’t voice it later in criticism.

    An acquaintance of mine is an attorney who took a three month leave of absence to volunteer for the Obama campaign. I visited her at a campaign headers and was absolutely amazed at the work going on at the local level. I firmly believe campaigns are won by individuals working together.

    As for the idea that one elected president can or cannot make a difference – our government isn’t run by just one person. We have a Congress and we vote for our congressional leaders on election day also. If you don’t get out and vote, you’re not enabling your chosen president the Congress that will support his ideals.

    As for myself, I found this election to be exciting, historical and patriotic! I’m proud that I voted and was part of it.

  20. chris keller
    chris keller says:

    I, too, voted early, more than a week ago. I still remember the feel-good of it. But that is not the main point.

    I voted for hope, as the talking heads have been saying. They are correct. It is an act of hope (to vote). The person who won is emblematic of hope.

    I think the future will be a struggle. I think the president will be criticized/blamed in the future. I will remember Nov. 4, 2008, when the negativity tries to take hold, and the need for struggle is debated.

    We DO need to struggle out of our problems, and we need to “sacrifice” some of our lifestyle luxuries in order to fix our basic economic problems. Hope is the answer–hoping and plodding through to a better place.
    CAK

  21. Janine
    Janine says:

    Response to Caitlin-Our good Kevin Kennedy of the WI State Board of Elections here in Madison, WI counts each vote himself-with helpers too-as is traditional for a person of his office in this state.

  22. Amanda Hite
    Amanda Hite says:

    after knocking on hundreds of doors in ohio, I drove back to Lexington, KY to vote. I Voted, then headed right back to buckeye state to get more voters out. There are several freedom fighters that stood up for our right to vote. Voting is a way of honoring our history. Voting is a way to effect change. Our youth depend on you to vote and represent their voice and future. In this election it was the people, like I met in Ohio, coming from all across the nation giving their time, talents and passion that won this election.

  23. LC
    LC says:

    I voted. Went to the wrong polling place, stood in line for 20 minutes to find that out, went to the right polling place and stood in line another 20 minutes. It was so tempting to just bag it and head to work, but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t vote.

    I was totally apolitical until 2004 when I turned out to vote “not Bush”. So I understand the lack of enthusiasm, but honestly, if I could redo it I would vote every time I could. It’s the small, consistent actions over time that make a difference, even if you can’t see immediate change.

    I used to avoid talk of politics and religion at work. Since I dropped that rule — at least for politics — I’ve had great conversations with colleagues, no matter on which side of the fence we happen to fall.

  24. Dianna
    Dianna says:

    I am an election judge and I was happy to see a record turnout of voters and to see a lot of younger voters.

  25. Steve
    Steve says:

    I voted, but after waiting for two hours in line (a slight improvement from four hours in 2004) I had to wonder when we’re going to get internet voting. Am I alone in wondering why we can’t get that? I do everything else online, practically…

  26. Steve C.
    Steve C. says:

    I’m wondering, how many of you hit the polls, as I did, and found that there were several “local” issues and candidates on the ballot that you were uninformed and unfamiliar with? In my case, that happened in spite of making an effort, before heading to vote, to discover what might be waiting for me when I stepped into the voting booth. It makes me feel very uncomfortable, regardless of the outcomes of the major items on the ballot. It takes a real commitment to be truly informed.
    Steve C.

  27. Tom B.
    Tom B. says:

    Did you vote begs the question, “Do you have any idea who/what you are voting for and why?” Are too many people just caught up in the mania of empty platitudes like “Change”, or are they voting for well researched, well thoughout positions and candidates?

  28. deepali
    deepali says:

    I voted. My mom voted absentee. My dad voted for the first time in his life (here). As an immigrant, I am saddened to hear the apathy some Americans display regarding voting.

    Obama and McCain weren’t the only ones running for office. And local elections have a lot more sway over your life. But mostly, I think American apathy to voting is like American consumerism and American entitlement.

  29. jrandom42
    jrandom42 says:

    Same here, Tom. Dad’s medals and a copy of the internment order are hung in a frame next my father in law’s and stepson’s folded flags.

  30. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    Here in Australia, I, like many of my friends, watched the election for almost 5 hours straight. It captivated our attention more than any election held in Australia. I wanted to congratulate you all on such a wonderful display of what democracy is about. I doubt that I will ever see a minority take the highest office in Australia. More than 85% of Australians would’ve voted for Obama as well and the sentiment here, is that of optimism. After all, what happens to Amercia, also affects Australia. It was as if almost instantly, all the lost respect for America was once again restored when Obama was elected. I know that much of what he has offered is based on the idea of hope and change, but all great leaders should be able to inspire that ideal in their people. He has not only done that, but inspired such ideals in people from around the world. I pray so hard that you do not let racism get in the way of what your country needs to do in order to fix this almighty economic/financial mess.

  31. sophie
    sophie says:

    I love that Penelope is so internationally read and we Americans can see the viewpoint beyond our shores. We notoriously live through our U.S-tunnel-vision, barely aware of what’s going on in other parts of the world.

    I’m amazed at how much people elsewhere know of the U.S. I also appreciate that people elsewhere share their thoughts and help educate us of life beyond our safe, little confines.

  32. Joselle
    Joselle says:

    For everyone who was baffled by ballot questions–and who isn’t since they are written so unclearly–I found my state’s League of Women Voters (LOWV)website very helpful. They post the original ballot question, the interpretive statement, their own summary and a list of pros and cons for each ballot initiative. The LOWV is nonpartisan.

  33. No matter who you vote for...
    No matter who you vote for... says:

    Not voting != Apathy.

    The choice not to vote can be as positive as the choice to vote, it doesn’t automatically come from feelings of apathy.

    Happy change you need week American peeps. I for one am relieved that Sarah Palin is now just a little further away from real power. The woman made my blotter look smart.

  34. Mr. Money
    Mr. Money says:

    Yup, I voted, and asked others if they voted too. Be careful not to press who they voted for though, as it can be a touchy subject.

    And I agree with the poster above me, not voting does not mean you’re apathetic. In reality, a leader does not have as big an effect on us, whether it’s a boss, a president, or a coach, as we’re led to believe. Leadership theory states that the common worker is much more important to the success of the organization than the leader.

    By not voting you could be doing any number of things that have a more positive impact on our society.

  35. Nicola Rowe
    Nicola Rowe says:

    I voted. I live in New Zealand, and it’s election day here. I’d rather Obama won in the US and we got the “wrong” government here at home than have McCain win and my choice of government here, though. That’s how important the US election is to the world.

  36. Steve C.
    Steve C. says:

    @ no matter who and mr.money.

    So you’re saying that you can contribute to a solution by ignoring the problem??? I don’t get that, I think it’s a cop-out. By turning out in such huge numbers, the voters made it pretty clear that they were demanding a change in business as usual, even if they have no idea how to do it. What would the message have been if they hadn’t turned out?
    The person who is elected to lead in this country is more important than you think. It speaks to who is paying attention to what is happening in this country and in the world, to who is awake and who is asleep. It proves that one person can make a difference, even if only by inspiring many others.
    Steve C.

  37. Techbuzzworld
    Techbuzzworld says:

    I am encouraged by Obama’s bipartisan approach. I’d like to see Republicans keep charge of the defense and state departments, while the Democrats fix the economy.

  38. Randy
    Randy says:

    I voted an hour before the polls closed; no lines, no waiting. A stupendous 85% of registered voters turned out. But I live in a winner-take-all state, where Obama was assured of victory, along with John Kerry, Barney Frank and any other incumbent who isn’t under indictment. Only a few questions were left to choice. So, in an almost meaningless election, why is there record turnout, but when important local races like mayor and alderman the turnout is about 20%?

    The Obama campaign, and others before it are tapping into some primal instinct that drives us more than our own self-interest. I will leave it to Penelope and all of you to tell me how that works.

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