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OPINION: Why you SHOULD vote today

September 13, 2018 By Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photo by Mary Frost

There are a number of local election races today, and many voters will not participate. This is an accurate — but sad — truth. Many voters are disgusted by partisan politics, messages, and policies. The shouts for change are louder than ever, but the only key to change is you, the voter. So the message of this column is simple: VOTE today.

Why should you vote? Because before we can talk about change, we must first talk about your participation in the process. Today’s election is about party politics. Many voters identify with a political party and believe their party should stand for certain beliefs. Today’s elections will choose who best fits what they believe their party should represent.

In my opinion, the best way to judge candidates is on their principles or past performance, but however you choose your candidate is a personal choice. The point is that if you do not participate today, you lose the chance to tell your party what direction you want it to go. You will hear terms like “progressive” or “a real member of the party,” but it is up to you to decide what is best.

Once you have decided who best represents what you believe your party should stand for, then you have to go out today and VOTE for him or her. Those who consistently vote in these party elections are referred to as “prime voters” or “triple prime voters.”

Triple prime voters are voters that have voted in the last three consecutive primary elections. To party officials and many political strategists, these are the most likely voters and where campaigns allocate the largest amount of their resources.

Even if this is your first time voting, you are crafting the message for what your party should stand for. Data will be collected and analyzed to find out how and why you voted the way you did.

Let’s say you are a 20 year-old woman and this is your first time voting. The party will see that additional young women voters turned out and policies will be developed to encourage more young women voters to turn out in future elections.  

Why? Because the more voters that turn out in a party election, the more of a chance that party has of winning the general election.

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Believe it or not, party elections are extremely important. Elected officials listen to VOTERS. For example, if only 20 percent of registered party voters actually VOTE, those elected officials representing that party are going to try to talk about policies and messages that make the 20 percent who voted happy.

In fact, most candidates running today have targeted their message to that 20 percent. Advocacy groups also targeted that 20 percent to try to get them to support their policy, because they know if they can get the party voters to support their mission in today’s party election, they can force the party to support their position as a plank of the platform in the general election.

There are some that cry out “That’s not fair! Elected officials should represent me, too.” I am sure most of my colleagues try to represent all their constituents, but if the 20 percent that vote insist on a certain view and that elected official does not comply with their wishes, he or she will probably be voted off the party line and cannot participate in the general election, thus losing their office.

In fact, sometimes we see that happen. Sometimes people wake up the next morning and say “I can’t believe she lost, I always liked her,” or maybe they say “I am so glad he finally got voted out of office. He never did what this community wanted.” The point is, only 20 percent of the party made that decision.  

So if you are a member of a political party and there is an election in your area, go out and VOTE. Pick the candidate that you believe stands up for what’s right and best represents your beliefs.

Don’t let the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. The party is watching and listening. VOTE TODAY!

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