I have been a registered voter since the week I turned 18 years old. Admittedly, at 18, I was fairly clueless about the people for whom I’d be voting, but I educated myself on each of them the best I could and embraced the privilege like no other. This opportunity, for me, was far more paramount than any other milestone that came with turning 18. But then again, I wasn’t a smoker or an avid purchaser of porn, so maybe I had no choice.

I do not regard myself as one who is overtly obsessed with politics. You will not find me on a street corner handing out pamphlets or walking Union Square decked out in a sandwich board that roots for my preferred candidate. Although I am very staunch in my liberal beliefs and will take these thoughts to Twitter and Facebook – where the majority of my friends, if not all of them, share my political ideas – I’m still rather mum on the subject unless pushed. Push me, and I’ll gladly tell you my thoughts on why I voted for Obama weeks ago (absentee New Hampshire ballot, because they need every liberal vote they can get), and why I think Romney is bad for women, the environment, equality and pretty much everything else. I’d be more than happy to share this with you, but since, for some, politics falls under the same awning as religion and money, I won’t. Besides, there’s no sense in getting into a heated debate just so we can throw around the word “malarkey,” and walk away knowing, in our hearts of hearts, we are completely and positively right in our views.

However, my lack of public display on the matter, doesn’t hinder my devotion. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to politics; we all must be aware and knowledgeable of those in power who are making the decisions.

When George W. Bush ran for the first time I was in college. This was also my first presidential election in which I was old enough to vote. That election I went the way of Ralph Nader. I do not regret my choice, although many would later call it a “wasted” vote, but it was also at that time that I realized I could never date someone who didn’t vote. Even if they voted for a candidate of whom I disapproved, it was far better than not giving a fuck. Perhaps our political stances did not align and would not make for a great long-term relationship, but conviction, in my humble opinion, outweighs difference of opinion.

My boyfriend at that time didn’t vote, and because of it, I resented him. This also solidified how I’d view future relationships when it came to politics.

As this election day is just a heartbeat away, I’m certain, more than ever, that I could not date someone who is either too lazy or apathetic to educate themselves on the candidates, and doesn’t get their ass to the polls to cast their voice.

As a liberal woman who is extremely protective of her reproductive rights, the human rights of my LBGT friends to get married and be treated as equal, and one who is well aware that the Cold War is over (unlike Mr. Romney), it is imperative to me to date someone who votes. Actually, it’s more than imperative; it’s in the ballpark of an absolute necessity.

Relationships, the best ones, are based on so many components and one of those is mutual respect. I can’t respect a person who doesn’t vote. No one could possibly give me a single reason or a warped justification as to why voting isn’t important. To not embrace a liberty that so many in this world are denied because of oppressive governments is, in my mind, an utter tragedy. I don’t care how pretty your eyes are, how great your jeans fit you or how phenomenal your taste in music is, if you don’t vote, I’m not giving you the time of day.

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

  • Do better

    You can try to protest the system all you want; however, decisions directly affecting YOUR life will still be made. While individual candidates for office may not be your ideal choice, there is always a greater evil. To abstain from preventing unfavorable conditions for yourself seems idiotic in my opinion. But I guess if you’re already nihilistic it doesn’t matter anyways does it? I do know that people that don’t vote cannot say ish when it comes to conditions in this country since they’re too lazy to do anything to help.

    Sidenote: It plays directly into what the white dominant power structure wants when already disenfranchised minorities neglect to vote. They get to keep passing legislation which will widen the gap even more between the haves and the have nots. Such myopic and selfish thinking to believe that sitting by silently and watching things deteriorate is an act of protest.

  • Courtney**

    I’ve been away from the site for several days due to school/work but even though this article is a few days old, I do want to remind anyone reading that voting isn’t just about who sits in the Oval Office. It’s also about who works with or against the President in Congress. It’s also about who accepts or refuses federal monies for your state/city/town/local municipality for whatever reasons. It’s also about the local judges presiding over your trial, the trial of a friend or loved one, or god forbid the trial of someone who has harmed you or a loved one. It’s about the local coroner, treasurer, state initiatives and levies to fund or defund local schools and social support programs, taxes for services we all need to use.

    I think we do voting a disservice by only hyping it at this level every four years, or even two years. Voting is but one step of participating in a democratic society, sure – but in addition to being one of the easiest ways to participate, it also is one of the ways we most visibly and immediately affect the lives of ourselves and those around us at the local/state level. It’s not just the president, or even the senators and representatives. I wish more of an effort was made to make people realize the other ways – in many cases, the other more important life-changing ways – that voting affects us. I understand the opinions of some that voting doesn’t matter because all politicians are the same (UNDERSTAND, but whole-heartedly reject – as if there’s no difference between Todd Aiken and Debbie Washerman-Schultz sitting on committees and proposing legislation) – but there’s other things besides “president” that we fill in on those ballots.

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