How to Vote By Steven Gourley

This article is in response to Judith Martin-Straw’s recent essay which pointed out that “parents don’t vote” in local elections. Actually parents don’t vote, but grandparents do vote. A very large number of voters are in their ’60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even ’90’s. So here is not only a lesson for parents to teach them how to vote, but to let them know how they can be very influential in our city.


1. Register to vote.

2. Vote at all city and school board elections.

3. Support at least one candidate at each election. You may support more than one, but no more than there are open seats. Eventually you will support someone who wins, and this will make you look important.

By “support” I mean allow your name to be used as an endorser of a candidate. You can do more (see below), but allowing your name to be used in the candidate’s brochure is all it takes.

If you are really anxious to be politically connected, allow at least one candidate to put up a sign on your lawn. (Putting a sign in your window might help, but LAWN signs are what it is all about.)

Attend a candidate’s forum. Shake hands with at least one candidate. It doesn’t matter who, because all the other candidates will want to know who you are, and will want to shake your hand, too.

Attend a candidate fundraiser. Contribute whatever the minimum entrance fee is, maybe $20, or $50. Or even SEND a check for $5.00. You will have to put something in writing so that you will go in to their database, because they are required to disclose your contribution under city law. Leave early, don’t eat anything. God knows how long that stuff has been sitting out getting rancid. Don’t shake a lot of hands, except for the candidate. It might even be helpful to be mysterious to other guests. (Who was that woman? Why is she getting involved in this campaign?)

So far, so good. I have asked you to do nothing hard, nothing in fact that will cause you to even burn any calories. You don’t even have to say you like the candidate or why. You don’t have to go to any endless planning or strategy sessions at some stranger’s house where they also serve awful food.

Editor’s note- Steve  Gourley’s opinion is so rich and delicious, we opted to serve it in small slices.  This piece will continue tomorrow with “Two things which require actual effort.” Steve Gourley is currently the President of the CCUSD School Board, and is a former mayor and member of the city council.

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