Why your vote counts
By: Lois Requist
I can’t remember my motivation to vote being as low as it was Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2004. The amount of money spent on campaigns and voting districts being drawn to protect incumbents made me cynical.
On Election Day, I was to serve on a jury and when court adjourned, I was to drive into San Francisco with a friend. Jury duty started at 10 a.m. I’d vote before that. However, I got going late. At the precinct, there was a line. I didn’t have time to wait.
As luck would have it, the jury wasn’t called until 10:30.
“I wish I had stayed and voted,” I remarked to another juror, a young black woman. When we were dismissed for lunch, she said, “Well, maybe you can vote on your lunch hour.”
“I don’t think so. I don’t want to drive to Benicia and back. And, I have to leave quickly in the afternoon to get to San Francisco.”
When I came back from lunch, she said, “Did you have a chance to vote?”
“No. I don’t know that I’m going to be able to today.”
“Oh,” she said, looking distressed.
“You are serving as my conscience today.” I smiled at her.
“It’s just…my grandfather always taught me it was so important.”
“Yes, it is,” I agreed, thinking of all those years I had worked for the League of Women Voters, and how many times I had urged my children and others to vote. I thought of how I had said you can’t complain if you don’t vote, and that being informed and active is vital.
“My grandfather thought it was so important,” the young woman repeated, “He couldn’t always. We couldn’t always.” “Neither could we,” I answered. On that day, I cast my ballot. I voted.