If people value democracy, they had better get out and exercise their right to vote while their vote still means something. ~ Bob Weir
"It gives you a voice."
YOU WORK BEHIND THE SCENES? (As a committee person and poll worker)
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH THAT?
"My whole life. I remember being four years old and going up and hanging at the election polls and playing on the little machines. Going around and delivering the circulars."
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED AT SUCH AN EARLY AGE?
"My father made me. I had no choice. He moved up into the area in 1968-69, he was the committee person and I took over in '94."
HAVE YOU SEEN CHANGES IN VOTER TURNOUT OR PEOPLE'S FAITH IN THE SYSTEM OVER THE YEARS?
"Yeah. Our generation doesn't vote." [GENERATION X]
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
"'Because they don't care."
DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY DON'T CARE?
"Yeah. I see it. People care but they don't wanna improve it. They have a lot to say but they don't want to look into who's gonna be better for their surroundings or their neighborhoods. Or they don't realize that there is actually something they can do."
WHY DO YOU THINK THEY FEEL THAT WAY?
"Because the whole process is screwed up. To be put on the ballot, you have to have close to a million dollars. That's just to be put on the ballot. So that means a politician with all the right ideas, he sounds good, looks good, really wants to do something, but now he's gotta go out and raise a million dollars to get put on a ballot. Now everyone that gives him money, he owes a favor to. And now, let's say you get money from the plumbers union, the electrical union, the carpenters union, you owe all three of them a favor. But two of them want the same favor, who do you give it to? You're always pissing someone off. And that ruins the whole process. Another thing that ruins the process is all the stupid ass commercials, all the literature you get in the mail, all the phone calls you get at home, all the lawn signs you see in the middle of the Boulevard. That ruins elections. I don't wanna know what my opponent did wrong. I don't care what he did wrong. I wanna show who I am. And the problem with today, is everyone's putting the other person down and not saying what they're actually gonna do to make it better. Nobody cares about making it better, they just wanna make the other person look worse."
SO IT'S LIKE A POPULARITY CONTEST?
"It's not even a popularity contest, it's who lies the best. There's so many ways to stop this. And the money that's wasted on campaigning is incredible. If you take one election, take all the money that every politician spends, you could pay the national debt off in one election."
DO YOU HAVE ANY UNUSUAL STORIES FROM OVER THE YEARS?
"Like I said, from an early age, I was always involved in the election process. And I didn't care who got elected. I didn't think it mattered. So when I was just able to vote, my father was very involved. He would go around, he knew the whole neighborhood, everyone knew him, and every major election for a couple years (back then there was actually a communist party) I would go in and vote how I was told to vote, but I would put one vote for the communist party. And I would sit there and watch my father go out of his mind trying to figure out who the communist was. I did that for probably five years and I never told anyone till right before my mom died (his father had already passed). And then she just called me an asshole."
SO DO YOU FEEL THAT SOME ELECTIONS ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO VOTE IN THAN OTHERS?
"I think the presidential election and some bigger elections may be more popular, but I feel that they aren't as important to vote in, because in my eyes they don't matter as much. The ones where your vote counts more is the county elections, the state and city representatives. They're the people that actually have a voice for your community. And you have to work from the inside out. If you start with your community, you do have a voice."