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Ann Weiss Why you should vote

September 30, 2018

WOW (Women on Watch) is a 10-year-old grassroots political initiative — working on key local, state and national issues. WOW is joining with the League of Women Voters, Indivisible, Stamford Plus, Moms Demand Action and the NAACP to mount a city wide voter registration/voter turnout campaign. Our objective is to push for greater voter registration and turnout for the Nov. 6 general election.

Why are we doing this?

In the November 2017 mayoral campaign, 75 percent of registered voters did not bother to vote. This poor turnout at the polls is disgraceful, because, as you all know, all politics is local. It’s the local vote that’s most important to our lives as Stamford residents.

Local election results affect every aspect of our lives — our taxes, our schools, our roads, our traffic, police and fire and much more. We should care about who wins! Poor turnout often means that candidates of the extreme right or extreme left win — and consensus politics becomes almost impossible.

WOW estimates that about 12,500 eligible residents of Stamford are not registered. Our groups are determined to whittle down that number. And you can help us! How?

There are times when you don’t vote because you don’t like either candidate. Look at it this way — one of those candidates is going to win. So vote for the candidate that stands for most of the issues you care for. It’s not the personality of the candidate — it’s the issues!

Why don’t people vote? Many say “my vote does not count.” Well, it sure does in a close election. Ask the woman in Virginia who lost by one vote. Ask the woman in Stamford who lost her re-election bid by three votes. Many of her friends said “Oh, we were so sure you would win that we didn’t bother to vote.

Your vote counts as much as the person who contributed a million dollars to the candidate. Your vote has the same weight as the vote of every other citizen. Rich or poor, young or old, male or female, black, white, Latino or Asian — each vote is equally important.

Many say they do not know enough about the candidates or the issues. In the Internet age — where so much information is online — that is a poor excuse. All candidates have a website, at the very least a Facebook page — where their positions are laid out — what they are for, what they are against. There is the Stamford Advocate. There is Channel 12 local news. There are debates — where you can go to size up the candidates and their issues.

If the candidates are currently in Congress, go to congress.gov to find out how they voted on bills, their roles and activities in Congress.

In this age of “Fake News” and Alternative Facts, check the candidates answers by going to Factcheck.org that monitors the accuracy of candidate’s statements.

Attend local town halls to size up your candidate.

Encourage family members, friends, and neighbors to register and vote.

As we say in WOW — “Democracy is NOT a spectator sport.” Democracy requires voter participation. Voting is not only an important right — it’s an important responsibility. We hope you will join us in our efforts to register more voters, and then inspire those voters to make themselves heard.

Stamford resident Ann Weiss is a member of WOW (Women on Watch).

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