Some reasons why we don’t vote

Published 5:28 pm Saturday, November 3, 2018

By Yolande Robbins

More than a few times I’ve encountered my elders, encouraging them to vote, who’ve told me “It’s all in God’s hands, and he’ll handle it.” I’ve always become  monumentally angry whenever I’ve heard such nonsense. But I’ve held my tongue because I didn’t want to disrespect my elders.

Now that I am one, I will say what I think.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

If someone said that you had to go on Tuesday to sign something so you’d get your check, you’d be there before 7 (when all the polls open), and not waiting for “God” to handle it. And you know that that’s true. This lazy habit of using faith to justify negligence is insulting to all believers.

So instead of saying that, say this: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

And then go vote.

Another reason we don’t vote is that we don’t go back when we need to.

For far too many of us, voting, if we do it at all, has become a mindless rote. We have and we keep the most elementary notions of the whole process of voting. Here’s an example.

Mike Espy has a very real chance to become the first African American senator from Mississippi since Reconstruction. That was in the 1870s. But many voters think that come Tuesday, they’ll only have to vote once.

Which is true if Espy wins a majority on Tuesday.

But if he is forced into a run-off because he didn’t gain a majority the first time, many of his supporters won’t bother to come back. So he could lose in a second round of voting scheduled for Nov. 27, because his voters didn’t know they had to come back.

In this case, it’s his supporters who defeat him because they didn’t know — or care. They had voted once. They didn’t bother to come back. Many did not know they even had to come back.

Or could.

So our own lack of understanding of the whole electoral process could do us in on Tuesday.

Many voters don’t know — or don’t bother — to vote in a run-off, often ensuring the defeat of someone they favor because they don’t vote that second time. And run-offs are almost always decided by voters who come out that second time.

It’s not unusual for leading candidates to lose in run-off elections. If they can’t get their supporters back to the polls, that’s usually the game.

And elderly voters who are usually the most reliable voters for a given candidate simply do not come back.

So it becomes a matter of helping them understand the importance of doing it again, a need often neglected in the effort to just register them.

When lack of familiarity with the process causes lost elections, the result is the same as not voting at all.

So it’s mostly either indifference or ignorance that causes us to lose.

Let’s not lose this time — or again.

Yolande Robbins is a community correspondent for The Vicksburg Post. You may email her at