By Victor J Wang, TAP-NY Advocacy Chair
Election Day is upon us and I would like to encourage all TAP members to get to the polls and exercise their right to vote – remember the A in TAP!
Below is a brief FAQ for common questions or concerns you might have on this day.
I’m not registered. What should I do?
Aw shucks. You cannot vote this year – but that’s okay because this is an excuse to register for next year. Conveniently, many states (including NY) now let you register online here: https://vote.usa.gov/
Remember, if you register today, you’ll be able to vote in next year’s 2016 Presidential Election. And, if you choose a party affiliation, you’ll be eligible to vote in the Primaries early next year that will determine which candidate represents that party to run for President.
I am registered. Where do I vote?
Check this site to locate your closest polling location: http://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search
What do I need to bring?
Your physical self and a valid ID. A driver’s license works perfectly.
I don’t feel the impact of politics nor do I care about it.
Politics is a lot more pervasive than many people think. Everything from whether you can ride your bike on the sidewalk (my friend got a ticket for doing this in Brooklyn), to how late bars can serve alcohol (Boston mandates 2am!), to even getting tax breaks for starting your company here, are all determined by our local and state legislatures.
Plus, people in other countries are fighting for their right to vote – it’s not something most people can take for granted. We need to exercise our rights now when the stakes are lower, so we are ready when stakes are raised.
I don’t want to vote when I’m not informed.
Plato has a quote: “One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Don’t go without voicing your opinion when there are others out there – who might be even less informed – going to the polls.
Even if you cast an empty ballot, you’re making a big impact because your attendance is recorded. Asian Americans historically have low turnout rates (an abysmal 31% compared to blacks at 44% and whites at 49%) at the polls, and combined with our already small population size of only 5% of the US, this is the primary reason why politicians don’t take us seriously. We’re big enough to make a difference but because we don’t show up, politicians don’t think it’s worth their time. Good thing that it is within our control to break this vicious cycle – by getting to the polls!
My vote does not matter.
That’s not true. According to this Wikipedia article, only about a million people voted in 2013, which was a record low turnout of 24%. With less people voting (especially since this year is a non-Presidential election year), each vote actually matters more.
I can’t take time off work to vote.
It takes 10 minutes (usually less, since less people show up on off years) and you can go anytime between the hours of 6am to 9pm, a 15 hour window.. There should be one close to your residence – find yours here: http://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search
There is no point because the government is too inefficient to get anything done.
This is your chance to change that. Interestingly, this piece argues that this government inefficiency is the result of inconsistent types of demographics that show up to the polls each year. All the more reason to keep getting out there and making your voice heard.