WatchSonoma Watch

WHY I VOTE: A small price to pay

Paul Gullixson

Each time I go to the polls to vote, I take my two children with me. Yes, they enjoy coming along because they like saying hello to the people who work there, getting an “I voted” sticker and maybe to get a cookie or two. But the primary reason I take them is because I want them to see the institution of voting in America. I want them to see the (often) weathered hands that hand me a ballot, to see the line of voters in silver booths hunched over as they study and mark their ballots and to see the smiles and respect individuals show one another without prejudice toward person or party as they take my marked ballot and slip it into the ballot box.

I want them to see and understand the seriousness of it all – in hopes that one day they, too, will take it seriously.

I vote because in the back of my mind I hear my late father reminding me that it’s what we do as Americans.  It’s what we should do. It’s part of our job description.  It’s one of our obligations as citizens. Yes, it’s on par with serving jury duty. But I also see it right up there with driving safely, abiding by our laws and pulling over when we see someone in need. It’s part of our social compact.

I also see it as a way to honor all those who came before, who  gave their  lives fighting for or defending our right to vote.  It seems a small price to pay.

So that’s why I vote.

Why do you vote?


Editors’ note: Share your reasons for voting in the comments below. Feel free to skip the name-calling, posturing or partisan fighting that often characterizes comments on Watch Sonoma County stories. This post is a chance for you to share with your neighbors why voting is important to you.

32 Responses to “WHY I VOTE: A small price to pay”

  1. Jean Anderson says:


    You are wrong as usual.

    Brains assaulted by MSNBC and other far left-wing corrupt media outlets cannot even admit when an actual problem exists.

    But I realize facts mean nothing to left-wingers.

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  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Jean Anderson-if you got your information about false votes on voting machines from Faux No News, that immediately means to me that is MORE PROPAGANDA FROM THE RIGHT. Because that’s all you will see on Faux, fake “news”.

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  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Will-I kind of agreed with you until you said the word “Jewish”. Is it your impression that the Jews own this country? This is left over from WWII and what happened to the Jews was an abomination and pure evil. My impression is that it’s a bunch of rich old white CHRISTIAN men. Like the Koch Brothers who are Christian and Libertarians pushing billions controlling the elections all over the country (and they inherited their billions). And Rove. and so many others. All Christian, all white, all men.

    All these selfish old men would be an abomination to Jesus. They certainly don’t practice what Jesus taught. Jesus would be tipping their tables like he did to the usurious lenders in the square.

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  4. Jean Anderson says:

    VOTER FRAUD?– News Article

    The question is, will your vote be counted PROPERLY!!!

    Complaints crop up in Ohio of early voting machines marking Romney votes for Obama

    Published October 31, 2012

    Early voting problems in the key battleground state of Ohio are fueling concerns in the final days until Election Day, with the national race essentially tied in the latest Fox News poll.
    After several early voters in North Carolina said last week they cast ballots for Mitt Romney but the electronic ballot machine logged their pick as President Obama, similar problems have popped up this week in Ohio.
    Voters said they selected Romney on the touch screen but an Obama vote was logged instead.
    “You want to vote for who you want to vote for, and when you can’t it’s irritating,” Ohio voter Joan Steven told the Marion Star.
    As with the North Carolina cases, election officials had the machine inspected and re-calibrated.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/31/complaints-crop-up-in-ohio-early-voting-machines-marking-romney-votes-for-obama/#ixzz2Az4o1yPZ

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  5. Reality Check says:


    Were things better or different in New Zealand?

    Since there is widespread differences among people about what government should do (especially today) isn’t it to be expected that many people will be dissatisfied, at least a some level?

    Some people want low taxes, while others want lots of government services. Some people want us to make things right in Syria, Afghanistan, etc., while others would spend the money at home. Is one one side right?

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  6. Will says:

    I VOTE because I returned to the United States in 2007 after living in New Zealand for over 20 years.
    Upon my return, I was asked if I noticed the change taken place during the 20 years I was overseas.
    My answer was, Yes, I notice a big difference.
    The people then asked what I noticed that was so different? Is it the New buildings, Developments, Shopping Centers, Population, etc?
    NO, my answer did’nt have anything to do with those changes, although they are significant.
    The CHANGE I noticed immediately was in the PEOPLE. The AMERICAN PEOPLE.
    There is such a large gap between the poor and the rich that I wondered what happened to the MIDDLE CLASS People.
    There is no more MIDDLE CLASS.
    As one poster mentioned. We, the people of America DO NOT live in a Democracy, like most of the population believe.
    We, the American people live in a Republic Government.
    There is no democratic process. If you belive this then you are wrong.
    The reason I VOTE is not to pick the best person for the job(A choice of 1 out of 2 options is not a democracy) but the reason I VOTE is to choose the least worst person for the job. Not the best person for the job because the best person for the job never gets to the top 2.
    The top 2 Candidates are in the position of being selected because of the MONEY that they have or have had contributed to their Campaign Fund.
    The more money ANY CANDIDATE has behind them the better the chance they will become President. That is a fact.
    The reason I VOTE is to attemt to slow down the fall of America.
    As it stands now, our VOTES do not really matter. They are all going to the same people that really control America. Both (2)Candidates are controlled by the same group of people. That being the Jewish, the FDIC and the Giant Corporations.
    For our VOTES to mean anything or count as a real Democratic Vote then changes have to be made to the WHOLE Voting process.
    The changes that are required to make this country a true Democracy is the following:
    (1)It should be MANDATORY for all US Citizens to VOTE!
    (2)NO OUTSIDE FUNDING for any candidate should be allowed. None whatsoever. Even the Candidates should not be allowed to fund their own Campaign.
    (3)Only Taxpayer Funding should be allowed towards Campaign Funding and that amount should be the same for each individual Candidate.

    This would allow for a more fair playing field. It would eliminate the 2 candidates we have running for this election as there are better Candidates that ran but got outed because they could’nt keep up with the funding provided to the other Candidates.
    This huge amount of FUNDING comes with strings. That is why whoever is elected President of the United States is only a PUPPET.
    The people who put the millions of dollars behind their Candidates Campaigns are the ones pulling the strings. Those are the same people running this country, NOT the single person called President.
    If those changes are not adapted then it is only a very short matter of time before the United States Fall.
    I encourage everyone to VOTE but with the understanding that they are not in reality voting for that person but for the people that paid for him and will be controlling his PUPPET STRINGS.

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  7. John Parnell says:

    Nice column, Paul. Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn’t thought of bringing my children with me to vote, but I plan to do so now. You have lines at your polling place? I never see more than one other person in there voting, so what is that going to teach them though? Maybe you could use your power-of-the-pen to promote flash voting mobs for civic-minded parents.

    I don’t think I’ve ever missed an election, and I just can’t get myself to vote absentee. There’s something about doing it in person. And I’m with you – I vote, not just to have my voice heard or to give myself the right to complain, but to honor everyone that has fought for giving us this precious right to vote. Not just the soldiers who died, but also those who came home; and even the suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony, who gave the other half of us that right.

    (and I read your note, but I’ve got to bust your chops on the comparison to jury duty. Maybe if we were like Australia, and voting was compulsory, then you could give it a par; but it’s more like a double-bogey.)

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  8. Lets be Reasonable says:

    Paul – “I vote to make sure this country stays on the path the founding fathers intended. And to insure those in office respect the constitution as it was written.”
    Yes, like freedom of religion. One party is trying to turn us into a theocracy, the other is not. We are talking about making abortions illegal except for certain exceptions, when our courts have said otherwise.
    Yes, like the belief that an aristocratic birth-right class is wrong, that anyone who works hard should be able to move up. Instead, “the life chances of a young American are more dependent on the income and wealth of his parents than in any of the other advanced countries for which there is data.”
    Yes Paul, I agree with you 100%

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  9. Dick Tracy says:


    “How is it that a public employee has time when at work to post all day long on the the PD site? Is he/she using a computer bought and paid for with my tax dollars? I think a PD investigation of public employees use of taxpayer time is long overdue!”

    Sorry, David, I’m not following you. Which public employee?

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  10. Juvenal says:

    Having my polling place in a fire station, voting represents a pleasant combination of fire trucks, helpful, public-spirited volunteers, and nifty Sharpee pens. Then there is the free “I Voted” badge.

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  11. Terry says:


    Since when do two wrongs make a right? One person, one vote. You and Ms. Combs are apparently made of the same cloth.

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  12. Dan J Drummond says:

    For those who missed the Editors’ note, here it is again. Please read the second sentence. If I was the moderator, I would remove the offending posts and not post new partisan submissions.

    Editors’ note: Share your reasons for voting in the comments below. Feel free to skip the name-calling, posturing or partisan fighting that often characterizes comments on Watch Sonoma County stories. This post is a chance for you to share with your neighbors why voting is important to you.

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  13. Che Cazzo Stai Dicendo? says:

    “I vote because I can when so many people around the world either can’t at all or their vote doesn’t mean anything.” Your vote really doesn’t mean anything here.

    “If you don’t vote and you could have, you have no right to complain about about politics and politicians.”

    George Carlin a little information for you (naughty words ahead):


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  14. Jeff T says:

    Some folks here really need to read our constitution. The United States are not a democracy. Our form of government is a republic- look them up in the dictionary before you say they’re the same thing.
    I vote, and have done so for a few decades, now. As some others have stated, it often feels like a waste of time in CA elections, since I’m not a liberal, but it’s still important to be heard. It’s also vital to anyone who wants to complain about pretty much anything- especially here in CA. Don’t like gas prices? Too bad- that’s what the liberals have voted in, etc. If you don’t vote, you have nothing to complain about- or to celebrate, in those instances.
    Go out and vote. If we don’t, the privilege, like many of our freedoms already, will be lost.

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  15. Paul says:

    I vote to make sure this country stays on the path the founding fathers intended. And to insure those in office respect the constitution as it was written. This has proven to make this the strongest and richest country in the world and to apologize for it is a slap in the face to those who have given all to make it so. The Federalist and the Anti-Federalist Papers warned against those that would attempt to CHANGE our very culture. So many side issues distract from the real reason during this election. It comes down to upholding the values that created a great nation or allowing socialist values to take us in a flawed direction.

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  16. Wood chuck says:

    I am aghast at the lack of awareness of the general American public. Comments from people that repeat their political parties talking points feed to them via the Propaganda media. Completely biased. Scientists have proven that American voters vote for the candidate that tells them what they want to hear. All American’s that vote can simply look around at what their Dear Leader has accomplished in his/her years in office and judge by the JOB PERFORMANCE. Promises don’t deliver jobs. Ignorance is not bliss. it is ignorant. Business leaders that “turn around businesses,” have to fire people in order to hire those that are able to make the business profitable. America needs a proficient BUSINESSMAN to put this country back to work. That is why I am voting. And yes I was a one time Elite U.S. Paratrooper/OFFICER.

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  17. David says:

    How is it that a public employee has time when at work to post all day long on the the PD site? Is he/she using a computer bought and paid for with my tax dollars? I think a PD investigation of public employees use of taxpayer time is long overdue!

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  18. David says:

    Rampant Republican misdeeds and not ONE word about it in the main stream media? Mockingbird seems to have uncovered a “vast right wing conspiracy”, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the Clinton years! I am literally shocked!

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  19. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Many people seem to be upset that Julie Combs used her vote in the Republicans’ primaries. I find it really ironic that these very same people criticize her for “cheating” have no problem with their Republican party taking away American citizens’ right to vote all over the country. They are purging registrations incorrectly, putting up intimidating billboards in inner cities, robo calling incorrect voting dates and processes, requiring ID but also making it difficult to get those IDs, throwing out registrations of Democratic voters, hiring companies to register voters but only Republican voters (at least ACORN registered everyone regardless of party), the teaparty intimidating voters by “looking for fraud” at polling places they have no business to be at, voting machines that don’t work properly, not enough machines in inner city areas where people have to wait hours to get to vote when there are plenty of machines in white conservative areas, cutting early voting days which are used primarily by minorities and elderly, making rules to groups who register voters that are impossible to follow, and on and on.

    I am a Democrat and I firmly believe in Democracy. We need to throw out “states rights” in regard to the voting process and the federal government needs to initiate legislation to make our elections fraud free (the Republicans are the ones committing all the fraud I can see), above board, and that EVERY CITIZEN gets the right to vote without interference. Equalizing the voting process in all the states will go along way to stopping any fraud.

    And I also believe we are long past the electoral vote being the process we use. We only use the electoral vote for the Presidency. It’s time we use the popular vote like all other voting done in the country. Having a few states controlling the whole process is just plain crazy with the population we have today. It made sense during our forefathers time but doesn’t any longer.

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  20. Critic at Large says:

    Many of us vote, not because we want our kids to get a cookie, but because in these days, we fear for our country going in the wrong direction.

    Creeping socialism has taken root and is growing in Northern California. This is no long a two party state. The voters pass referenda prohibiting this or that and it is taken to court and overturned never to be heard from again.

    That is the nature of California politics today. If the unions, environmentalists or social activists are unhappy, you can bet they will sue.

    The ballot and the will of the people mean less and less in this state.

    A small minority can overturn an election. People who oppose them are called homophobic or nazi or some other vile name.

    No Gullisxon, what goes on these days in California elections is not your father’s elections. It is not all about cookies and doing the “right thing.”

    Unfortunately California politics have moved on too far for that. Voting today is attempting to prevent fiscal and social disaster. That is why it is important to vote.

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  21. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    I like it when the teachers bring in the kids at the poll I always work. We give them stickers and explain what we are doing. Often they go back and do their own elections. Later I see the kids again when their parents come in to vote. It’s never an imposition and the voters seem to like them too.

    Educating our children are a priority for the future of our nation and world. We need to make sure that they get every chance they can to become productive adults in society. The best and brightest need to be able to attend college and learn the skills our businesses need in their employees. We need to bring California schools back to number one from being 47th as they are now.

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  22. Jean anderson says:

    I vote in person to support good candidates and the propositions that I find beneficial.

    However, this year I’m voting with tens of millions of Americans to help defeat an incompetent failed administration and a president who is arguably un-American, anti-freedom, and anti-small business.

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  23. Pete says:

    11/6/12 Take your kid (or a kid) to the polls day!

    Thanks Paul. I vote because I know it counts and makes a difference.

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  24. Richard says:

    I vote because of the local, state, congressional representatives and the initiatives. When voting for President, I truly feel my California vote does not count. I feel the Presidential election is decided well before my vote is even tallied.

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  25. Terry Jensen says:


    Great article. I vote because ever since I turned 18 I’ve cherished my civic responsibility recognizing that thousands have sacrificed, even with their very lives, to protect and give me that RIGHT.

    We need to be informed voters. Read and listen with an open mind to all candidates and issues. We live in an imperfect world and our politicians are imperfect people (some more than others however). Each voter must be the judge.

    In relation to this, I was appalled when I discovered that one of those wanna be politicians, Julie Combs, admitted to using her right to vote in Ohio as a means to manipulate the vote of the Republican Party candidate running in a primary. This alone displays that some of us do not recognize that all deserve to be represented. Therefore Julie’s expression about district elections seems hypocritical and political rather than sincere.

    As voters we must beware, be informed and aware of what the candidates stand for. Thanks Paul for asking us to reflect on this American right.

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  26. Wilson says:

    Voting is a privilege for us. I vote because I can when so many people around the world either can’t at all or their vote doesn’t mean anything. It’s one of those use it or eventually lose it things.

    I go to the polls with a mindset that the vote is tied and mine is the deciding vote. What I despise however, is having to vote for the candidate that you dislike the least. I really wish that I could vote for “none of the above” and have the campaign start anew with new candidates.

    City council races in both Santa Rosa and Petaluma are probably going to be extremely close this election. Those races will prove to (if you don’t already know) that one vote does make a difference.

    So to all of you reading this and are registered to vote, DO IT. If you don’t vote and you could have, you have no right to complain about about politics and politicians. You too can be a part of history.

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  27. Sarkyfish says:

    I used to vote for the same old tired and trued sentiments of Paul, but now I vote in fear, because, assisted by the political prejudices of most in the media, we have become a nation of the government and not of the people.

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  28. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    My parents really took voting seriously. My mom is a naturalized citizen and my dad was retired from the military. Voting day was a big day for them. They would discuss for weeks what they would do on voting day. Got to breakfast first? or Lunch? What time to go? Both always got dressed up, even up to the year my dad died.
    Both were Democrats because they believed the Democrats represented their interests best, being lower middleclass and pretty poor. The only Republican that my parents ever voted for was Ike which made sense at the time because Ike was pro union, supported the middleclass, created jobs by investing in our infrastructure, was fiscally conservative, and warned us about the military industrial complex.
    It’s quite obvious his warning wasn’t heeded because look at this country now.
    In high school I couldn’t wait to vote. I’m proud to say I have never missed a vote including those annoying but important small elections. Now I also work the polls and work politically for the candidates of my choice.
    I can say for sure, my parents would NEVER have even considered voting for Romney/Ryan. My parents would have been upset at their moral bankruptcy at lying blatantly and brazenly to the American people to the point not one of us knows what they will do. I expect the worse judging from Romney’s history of putting people out of work. Here’s a couple of links to show what kind of man he truly is:

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  29. Che Cazzo Stai Dicendo? says:

    Is showing great care with other people’s money part of that “social compact”? Sure seems like these chumps so solicitous of our vote (at least when election time comes ’round) can’t really be bothered with that one.

    And please to be pointing out the candidates that have a chance to win who do anything but work their “base” and avoid addressing any real issues, because they makes voters unhappy?

    You can rationalize voting with whatever patriotic platitudes, that still doesn’t mean it counts for anything.

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  30. Dan J Drummond says:

    I agree about being a good citizen and all those kinds of thoughts, but I also vote because it’s fun!

    Politics is a strange game, in that we all have a point of view about what and who we believe and what makes sense in our worlds. Voting is one way to fight for truth, justice, and the “American Way” as each of us sees it. You know what I mean? Just good clean American FUN! … Keep smiling.

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  31. Skippy says:

    Well put Paul.
    Consider reminding them also that the people on that ballot are our employees. They work for us; the voters. Tell them they hold these positions at our pleasure, and we can hire or fire them as we see fit. Explain how much power over our lives we entrust to these candidates, and the consequences of our choices. Advise them to listen cautiously to the campaign cacophony.
    But your Dad hit the nail squarely and knew why; we vote because, as free people, it is our right and duty to do so honorably.
    What we owe for that right is beyond evaluation.

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  32. John Pendergast says:

    When I was a child I once came across a dead toad in the bottom of the swimming pool. I quickly netted it out and to my amazement the toad’s legs twitched as I turned it over. I showed my parents and they insisted that the toad was dead, it was only random nerve firings. They were right of course.

    That’s why I still vote. It’s just a random nerve firing of a dead democracy. The country died a long time ago. I’m not exactly sure when…

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