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Your vote is worthless

Don’t worry, so is mine.
I’m registered in Texas, which will go hands down for Romney. The only reason I bothered to request an absentee ballot is because I like voting. I’ll still vote for Gary Johnson, and I’ll do my research on the candidates for the other offices, but really, my vote would not be missed were I not to cast it.
I can’t even tell you that there’s a good reason for me to vote in the state and local offices either because they’re all going Republican too. I’m registered in a very conservative district, so if I want to change anything, I’m not going to do it by voting. This is less the case in Mississippi, but really, no individual vote is going to matter.
You hear all of these people on television and whatnot telling you to register to vote. “Vote or die!” “Rock the vote!” “More meaningless words with punctuation marks at the end!” (That wasn’t actually one, but I wish it were.) I’m going to let you in on a secret: You will not die if you do not vote. I don’t know what “rocking the vote” entails, but I’m going to bet that you can’t actually do it.
Voting is not a civic duty. You’re not a bad American if you don’t vote. As a matter of fact, if you haven’t looked into the candidates running for non-presidential offices and you just vote at random, you’re being a better citizen by not voting than by casting an ignorant ballot.
According to research done by economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research, in 40,000 contested races dating back to 1898, encompassing over 1 billion votes cast, only seven state legislature elections were decided by a single vote.
Only one national congressional race has been decided by one vote, and that was in Buffalo in 1910. There has never, in the history of the nation, been a presidential election that has come down to one vote.
Since your vote for president isn’t going to come close to making the slightest bit of difference, unless your ballot is going to be counted in a swing state, the more important choices are the state offices. Your vote is much more important in those races, and voting without knowing anything has the potential to affect the outcome in a negative way.
I’ve been working in city council and state representative races since I was a senior in high school. Call me a nerd, but I love municipal politics. It’s the only way you’re going to find the candidates knocking on your doors. One of the candidates I worked with was actually my neighbor. I’d say that municipal politics is much more exciting than national politics. I mean, where else are you going to find a citizen yelling at a city councilman after a joint town hall meeting? Nowhere, that’s where.
I say this in an attempt to make you take an interest in local elections. I’d even be happy with an interest in state elections. Those are the fun ones, and those are the ones in which your vote really matters. They’re the ones that can actually help you make changes in government.
Two of my friends have been working on Brad Morris’ campaign this election season. I got to do a bit of work on a state legislature election in Texas this summer, and my roommate is working on Danny Bedwell’s campaign against Alan Nunnelee. This is the way you really make a difference in politics. Work on congressional, state and local campaigns. Or at the least, keep informed about them.
Because if you’re not doing that, I ask you not to vote. If you don’t know who your state representative is, please either educate yourself or don’t cast a ballot. If you don’t want to take the time to research candidates, stay home on Nov. 6. Take a nap or something. As Tom Haverford would say, treat yo’self.

Alexandra Williamson is a senior accountancy major from Frisco, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @alyxwi.