logo for the League of Women Voters of Topeka and Shawnee County

Too many people don’t take the opportunity to vote. They stay home because they think their one vote doesn’t make a difference in the government of the city, state or nation where they live. But one vote can make a difference. It’s your right and responsibility to vote and to teach your children to vote, too.

Frequently Heard Excuses

My one vote won’t make a difference.

Let’s do the math.

To make the math easy, say 100 people are eligible to vote on an issue:

  • All 100 people are eligible to vote.
  • If each person registers AND votes, then 51 votes decide the election.
  • If only 60 people register to vote (even though 100 people are eligible) AND ALL 60 vote, just 31 votes win the election.
  • If 60 people register to vote, but only half (30) of them vote … then it takes just 16 votes to win the election.
  • Because many people did not vote, a small group of active voters — just 16 people — controlled the outcome.

The average turnout for a presidential election in Shawnee County is around 73 percent. Local voting tallies are far lower. Just imagine how much better you could make life in Shawnee County if you and your friends took the time to vote.

I’m not registered to vote.

Go to KSvotes.org to register easily on online. Register in person at a variety of community events throughout the year, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, or at a variety of banks, schools and government offices. See the list provided by the Shawnee County Election office. Remember to update your registration when you change addresses or change names. Updates can be made in the same way you register for the first time.

I don’t know who to vote for.

Take advantage of the many opportunities available in this community to learn about candidates. Prior to the primary and general elections many organizations host candidate forums open to the public. In addition, candidates post their positions on their websites and their social media pages. The Topeka Capital Journal publishes a voter guide in the hard copy paper and online. In addition, the League of Women Voters provides voter information on line where you can see the races in your area, compare candidates side-by-side, and read the candidates’ views on important issues in their own words (if they respond to the League’s questions).

I’m too busy to vote.

You can apply online for a mail-in ballot and vote at your convenience in your own home. Find information about advance voting by mail on the Shawnee County Election Office website. Download an application for an advance mail ballot from the Shawnee County Election Office.
You can vote early (generally on weekdays during the two weeks prior to the election) at the Shawnee County Election Office. See the election calendar for the schedule of advance voting in the Election Office.
 
On election day the polls are open 7AM to 7PM – a 12 hour ‘day’ for voting near your home. Verify your polling place.
 

Politics is just too ugly. I avoid it. Politicians don’t listen

Perhaps your voice is the one that will reduce the ugly! Remaining silent doesn’t make things prettier, it just means that your voice isn’t heard. By not voting, you give others power to make decisions without your input. A vote is a chance to state your opinion. A nonvoter is silent.

I don’t vote. It’s my protest to the candidates and their positions.

Unfortunately, candidates don’t know why you don’t vote. All they know from the vote results is which ideas and proposals prevailed. Even if none of the candidates’ positions is perfectly aligned with your preferences, voting gives you an opportunity to nudge the discussion in your desired direction.