See You At The Polls?

IStock_000005053899XSmallThis post is not about PR or Social Media.

But it is about Participation.

Are you planning to participate in this Tuesday’s primaries?  Are you planning to participate in the process of democracy?

Democracy does not ask much of us.  In fact, except for the honorable service of our all-volunteer army, Democracy clearly does not ask enough of us.  Democracy says, “Go about your daily life; good luck to you; let me know if you need a hand.” 

This benign neglect has led us to too often disregard the original sacrifices made to create our nation.  A relative handful of patriots decided to take on the world’s #1 super-power.  These farmers and ragtag frontiersmen were willing to tackle a professional and formidable army in the cause of Liberty. 

I know that, had I been alive at the time, my wife and kids would have begged me to stay indoors, head tucked down, just to keep me safe … I don’t doubt that those brave souls faced similar pressures.  But they took up arms, anyway.

In my opinion, to disregard the opportunity to vote is a slap in the face to those who were willing to make that sacrifice, then & now.  It’s also an abdication of the right to complain when things don’t break your way. 

Democracy asks that you add 15 minutes to your commute, to stop by the polling station.  Not so hard to do.

This is the note I just sent to all 100 employees of SHIFT Communications:

Hi all –


I’ve always believed strongly in encouraging people to vote.  I’m one of those wonks raised to vote for the local dog-catcher, if there’s an election for the post. 


It’s an all-too-rare privilege in this world to have the opportunity to make our voices heard through the pulling of a lever.   


So I hope you plan to make the time to vote this Tuesday in the primaries – certainly your managers will support you in this, if it requires coming in a bit late or leaving a bit early. 


It doesn’t matter who you’re voting for, please, just be sure to vote!!  It’s your country, folks: the participation of young people ensures that it’s not just retirees and extremists (of either party) who get to decide who’s in the Oval Office.


See you at the polls!



Posted on: January 31, 2008 at 2:33 pm By Todd Defren
5 Responses to “See You At The Polls?”


  • Well spoken, sir.

    It’s refreshing to see the younger generation tripling turnout from four years ago. And yes, I do think social media has something to do with that.

  • I hope I don’t sound like someone with an axe to grind but as a registered independent in a closed primary state (Washington DC) I am unable to participate a crucial step in the democratic process to choose our President. There is an effort right now to make primaries open nationwide to all voters but so far whether primaries are open or closed is at a state by state basis.

  • Stuart Bruce says:

    Fantastic post Todd. As well as running my PR firm I’m openly active in UK politics (Labour Party). Occasionally I’m asked if this causes problems with clients and contacts of a different political persuasion. On the whole it doesn’t. If people feel strongly enough about politics to care then they tend to be admire my commitment even if they disagree with me.

    My big irritation is not people who have different beliefs to me, but those who refuse to participate in democracy. Britain is the cradle of democracy and people have died to give people the right to vote. I have very little sympathy with those who can’t be bothered or who resort to the lazy, ignorant response that “they are all the same”

  • Hear hear, Todd.

    I’ve been encouraging my 13-year-old daughter to watch some of the presidential primary coverage with me in the evenings. As I point out to her, she’ll be eligible to vote in the presidential election after this one … in 2012.

    Goodonya for encouraging your employees to vote! Here’s hoping they all do.

  • Mike Keliher says:

    Thanks for this post, Todd.

    I live in Minnesota, where the lovely caucus system replaces the simpler primary voting process. Takes a bit more of your time, but it’s more fun!

    Reports from all corners of the country show participation is up this year. That’s great news for everyone.

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