Voting is complicated. Decision making is difficult when the media and our conversations (and even our Facebook streams) become saturated with opinions that prove to be more vague and loud than honest and helpful. Oftentimes we see voting as an inconvenience—did you remember to turn in your ballot on time or to fill it out at all? The answer to this difficulty is not inaction. Today is Election Day in the United States—so why should we vote?
To keep leadership and government accountable
Governments and the governed are meant to be accountable to one another. That’s—ideally—why we vote. In Honoring God in Red or Blue: Approaching Politics with Humility, Grace, and Reason, author Dr. Amy E. Black writes, “As part of a political community, we can and should pay attention to what elected officials are doing and speak out when government appears to veer off course. But we need to do so while still showing respect for those in authority and the offices they hold.” The act of voting is a respectful way to keep elected officials accountable to their responsibilities.
To care for one another and seek justice
While it’s important to understand the limitations of government, voting can enact change that can better the world and care for the people that God created. Isaiah 1:17 tells us to do good, seek justice and correct oppression. It’s easy to think about how a policy would affect us personally, but it’s worth thinking about how policy helps “secure the common good,” Black writes, thinking about others who are more vulnerable than ourselves. A typical ballot may not always contain policy that directly decides the fate of the oppressed, but with the resources at our disposal to voice our opinions, it seems foolish to pass up the chance and privilege to influence policy in a way that fulfills our calling to care for others.
To avoid apathy when it comes to complex problems
Voting, itself, is responsive. It is a step towards finding solutions to the complexities of government policy. Instead of tapping out when issues get complicated, we need to choose to lean in a little further. What if no one had stepped up to ensure voting rights for all citizens of the United States regardless of race or gender? The 15th and 19th Amendments may seem like no-brainers today, but at the time they were landmark pieces of legislation for American culture. Fast-forward to this year’s elections. We still encounter complex social and economic issues on the ballot, but that can’t deter us from voting. Conduct your own research and take the time to make a decision.
Voting is important, and we need to remember to pray for our political leaders. You may not agree with all policies and stances from your current political leaders, but prayer shows the respect that God asks us to have for leaders and government. In 1 Timothy 2:1-3, Paul writes “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. . . .” In a culture where we expect instant gratification and change, it can be difficult to remember that prayer has the power to change things.
Today is a good day for change. Election Day in the United States is about more than turning in a ballot and getting an “I Voted!” sticker. It’s about speaking up in a way that respects our leaders and seeks government accountability, justice, and progress. If you do anything today, make sure to vote. Make your opinion count.
Not sure where to vote? Use this handy tool to find a location near you.