It’s such a leap of faith to show up at the town hall or local school to cast your ballot.
First, you’re operating under the assumption that you will be allowed to vote and not have your eligibility challenged or have anyone make any attempt to disenfranchise you. You are also trusting that the infrastructure exists for you to cast your ballot (and in places hit by Superstorm Sandy, it took a lot of willpower and determination to make sure polling stations were open).
Second, you are trusting that the system will work and that your vote will be counted accurately.
And, third, you have to believe that not only will your vote be counted but that it will count. You have to believe that every vote really does count – swing state or not, Red state or Blue state.
But mostly you have to believe that the act of voting matters. Voting for the sake of voting has to matter because it is how we participate in governing ourselves.
Whether or not you believe it doesn’t matter which party is in office or who holds what seat, to go to the polls and cast your ballot is to agree to be governed by the outcome.
Because (with the exception of 2000 and the Florida recount with the hanging chads, etc.) someone is going to win and the winners will govern. Casting your ballot means you are agreeing, by mutual consent, to abide by the results whether you like them or not.
And agreeing to abide by the results is really at the crux of voting, whether it is for president, governor, senator, representative, auditor, treasurer or justice of the peace.
Abiding by the results is what makes voting meaningful because we don’t all get the winners we want every time whether we are voting for leaders or policies, bond votes or school budgets.
It’s a constitutionally protected leap of faith, but it only works if we take advantage of it.