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The A&E Report: A Vote Against Non-Voters

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Okay, we all remember what happened in Florida in 2000, and it didn't make our voting process look very solid. A lot of people came away with the impression that their votes aren't counted properly, if at all, and that none of it matters anyway because no election will ever come down to a margin of just one vote, and if it's anywhere within a few thousand, it's just going to get decided by the Supreme Court anyway, and we all know how they're going to vote. And you know what? That sucks. It sucks that our elections can't be perfect, and it sucks that some people are losing faith in democracy, and it totally sucks that the Electoral College makes some people's vote count more than others'. But voting is still important, because taking our country's freedoms for granted is the ultimate in arrogance and entitlement.

We here at LAist are constantly amazed to learn who among our friends and acquaintances chooses not to exercise their right to vote. Nothing makes us madder than an apathetic jerk — not even those right-wing kooks cynically using bigoted ballot measures to bring Republicans to the polls. At least they realize the value of voting. This election is a choice between two very different men with starkly contrasting ideologies at a crucial time in our nation's — and the world's — history. If you don't have an opinion, get one. Put down the joystick, turn off "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," skip the breakfast at the Urth Café, and read a newspaper or something. Really, it's that important. We're not even going to tell you whom to vote for right now, just vote.

We'll spare you the bleeding-heart lecture about how many people fought and died for your right to vote, and how many people around the world are still fighting for a right you take for granted blah blah blah. If you didn't listen in eight-grade civics class, you're not going to listen to us. But for the record, none of the following are valid reasons not to vote:

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1. Bush is going to win anyway.
2. Kerry is going to win in California anyway.
3. The polling place smells like old people.
4. I have to work that day between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM. (Your employer is required by law to give you time off to vote.)
5. I'm scared of chads. (Guess what? The chads are history. LA County has switched to Inkavote!)
6. I'm scared of ink. (Suck it up, cheeseball. Democracy's worth it.)
7. I don't know where my polling place is. (Here you go, jackass.)
8. No hablo ingles. (Lea este.)
9. I can't decide whom to vote for. (Does this help?)

If you're not registered, it's not too late. Registration forms in California need to be postmarked by October 18 if you want to participate in this election. You can even register online. (After completing the online form, you'll be sent a card in the mail that needs to be signed and mailed back. This takes 7-10 days, so if you want to do this, you'll need to do it right this second.) You can also register through Rock the Vote, who'll provide you with a printable form that you can just sign and mail by the deadline. Or pick up a form at your local post office or library. There are plenty of ways to register, but there's not a ton of time. And there's no excuse not to.

Even a vote for Nader is better than no vote at all.