What if they held an election and nobody showed up to vote?
It actually happened in Pottawatomie County, Kansas back in 1997. The Rock Creek School Board needed a new member so Mike Sotelo ran unopposed. According to the county clerk, 327 people were eligible to vote but no one did…not even the candidate himself. As a result, the school board had no choice but to appoint a new member themselves.*
I’m guessing that all 327 of those people had a reason for not voting. Some were probably sick or out of town or at work. Some probably thought that since the candidate was running unopposed, it wasn’t important to cast a vote. A few people probably didn’t even know there was an election that day.
But the big thing that strikes me about this incident is that Mike Sotelo didn’t even vote for himself. That’s a pretty powerful metaphor, isn’t it? The world is full of people who desperately need to vote in favor of themselves.
For example, the overweight guy who can’t drive past a McDonald’s without grabbing a Big Mac (or two) needs to cast a vote in favor of his health by changing his diet and getting some exercise.
The career-obsessed husband who works 80 hours a week needs to cast a vote in favor of his family by spending more time with his wife and kids.
The lazy high school student who’s barely getting by with C’s and D’s needs to cast a vote in favor of his future by hitting the books.
Here’s something I learned a long time ago. If you don’t vote for yourself, you have no right to expect anyone else to. That’s why I have a hard time conjuring up sympathy for people that I know have not taken the basic steps to better themselves. When I see an overweight person with several tattoos puffing on a cigarette and holding a can of beer, I don’t want to hear him tell me how tight money is.
I suspect Mike Sotelo was stunned to learn that he didn’t win an election in which he was the only person running. He probably assumed there was no need for him to vote. Stunned or not, he had no right to be angry. If he’d only voted for himself everything would have been different.
For further reflection read Proverbs 24:12 and James 4:17.
*Reported by the Associated Press.