Voting is Fundamental

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I agree with Ben on this one: Jody Wagner's failure to vote in the Obama-Clinton primary in February 2008 "deserves more discussion." Here's the first paragraph of the Signer campaign press release:
Over 900 thousand Virginians voted in the historic 2008 Democratic presidential primary last February, but not Jody Wagner. Wagner said that she missed the vote, the most critical Democratic primary in a generation, because of traffic. “That just doesn’t pass the blush test,” said Mike Signer’s spokesman Christian Rickers. “It’s a bit like telling your teacher that your dog ate your homework.”
So, you might be asking, why should I care if Jody Wagner voted in a primary election?

First, although I certainly wouldn't argue that this is the worst or most important thing in the world, I would certainly argue that it's important for our public officials to set a good example by voting. Last I checked, voting was a sacred right, one for which people around the world - not to mention in our own country - have been willing to fight and die.

Second, the Obama-Clinton primary wasn't just any ol' election, it was one of the most important (not to mention exciting) elections we've had in Virginia in many years. Personally, if I had felt that there was even a chance I might not have been able to vote on primary day, I would have made absolutely sure I voted early or absentee. "Stuck in traffic?" Sorry, that just doesn't cut it. What next, "the dog ate my ballot?"

Finally, I'd argue that this issue matters more than it normally would because Jody Wagner doesn't have a record as an elected official - since she's never been one - by which to evaluate her. That forces us to look at other metrics, such as her public statements and issues like this - missing an election in which nearly 1 million Virginia Democrats managed to vote.

UPDATE: According to this, Wagner did not vote in the 2004 (Kerry, Dean, Clark, Edwards) or 2005 (Petersen, Byrne, Baskerville, Puckett) primaries either.