Voting is an important if not almost sacred part of being an American, and yet so many of us choose not to vote. Every election cycle my mind is astounded by the turn out numbers, 40%....? 30%....? Less.....?!?! and this is the combined voter turn out for both parties. No wonder so many Americans are upset with the politicians in Washington and elsewhere they were elected by at best 1/4 of the voting population.
As the Republican Senate primary and the previous senate election of 2006 prove, races, especially in Alaska can be decided by a relatively small amount of votes, with the margins between winner and loser being very tight. Every vote counts and its always comical to me when I discuss politics with someone and while they complain about this or that you ask...."Well did you vote?" and the answer is "No." Your vote is your best opportunity to effect the direction of your state and country, aside from protesting in the streets (or writing a political blog :P) both of which are significantly more time consuming than 10 minutes in a booth every few years.
Personally I don't see how we can't have 80% or 90% voter turnout. I understand that sometimes things happen and maybe you didn't get to the polls....this time, but that you will be more than sure next time to do so. That's fine, but I've met people in their 30s and older that have NEVER voted in their life. For the most part neither of their parents voted either. Which is probably where they got the idea it wasn't important or necessary in the first place.
Now as much as it pains me this is one thing we can't blame on politicians, they try very hard to 'get the vote out' especially if those people are going to vote for them. No, unfortunately it is the non-voting public who is at fault. Which happens to be a majority of Americans. So you could actually say America is at fault.
Now, this isn't the fault of the school system or some other institution. The schools do more than their fair share in encouraging the youth to take their civic duty seriously. I think really responsibility rests with the parents. In so many instances our behaviors and responsibilities are shaped by our parents. While I failed to find a related statistic (I love those), it seems that the common thread is parents who vote have children who vote, and even more so parents who take their kids with them when they vote, those children are even MORE likely to be voters themselves when the grow up.
When you fail to vote, your basically giving up your best chance to engage the political process. I bet there are a ton of Lisa Murkowski supporters out there that wish they had found the time.