For some reason, I never thought I'd have to explain this to my friends. I feel very strongly about voting, but some of my friends think we're in a holding pattern and their voting is not going to make anything better.
I may be idealistic, but I vote because for once, someone has asked for my opinion. I love giving unsolicited advice, so when it's solicited, I'm all over that. What's strange to me is that the same peers I mentioned above were so excited to vote when they turned 18. As a year younger and more significantly, not yet an American citizen, I stood enviously on the sidelines. My first election was a midterm election - I was that excited about finally being able to vote. In some ways, I vote because many people can't, and will be affected by the choices the rest of us make.
But my main reasons for voting are less noble. I vote to protest without guilt. If I was previously solicited for an opinion, I feel that I've earned the right to complain about some political decision only after I've given my opinion when it was asked for. This is clearly not for everybody. Everybody should feel free to protest and criticize, but I feel guilty for arguing a position that I ignored when it was presented to me. That is also why I vote.
There's another faction who argues their vote won't count among the millions(?) of Americans* who can vote. The number of close elections we've had would seem to discount that, but even for the ones that aren't close, I vote because you do need a group of people to win or to lose. My individual vote may not matter, but I can't compel everyone to vote, even though I will do my damned best to talk your ear off about it. So I vote, and hope that everyone who can will do so too.
So, what are the reasons why you vote?
This has been your friendly reminder to vote on Tuesday, if you are able to do so and have not turned in your ballot already.
* with the voter ID laws and the other barriers preventing people from voting, I don't even know what this number is, but something tells me that it will be much, much lower than I'd thought.