It's a week before the election, and I’m desperately hoping this is the last article I have to write about it. As a country, we’ve suffered so much over the last 18 months that the American Psychological Association had to put out election stress tips to help us cope. At this point many of my friends, both online and off, have said they’re just tuning it all out now that the debates are over. Many of them are not voting. No sentence is more frightening right now than “I’m not going to vote.”

Are you kidding me? People fought and died for you to have this right! Other people leave the countries of their birth because they can't vote there! We are, in effect, self-governed, as a famous women’s suffrage poster stated. Women fought so that would happen. You have this right and you’re not going to use it? 

I understand all about the Electoral College, but if the popular vote is wildly different, it can make a difference. I’ve heard friends and family say, “Well, my state goes this way, so what’s the point?” Well, the point is, you don’t get to bitch if you don’t participate. The point is, this is your right, and if every eligible voter did their civic duty it could change everything!

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Look, whatever your political leaning, most people seem do realize that a person spouting hate speech, misogyny and anarchy probably isn’t qualified to be president. But your vote is bigger than just the presidency — you're setting the course for the Supreme Court and national health policy. It may seem like things are leaning toward your candidate, but that’s the danger. Everyone else will go vote, so you can stay home, right? You know what happens when a lot of people think that? Nothing good. The side that is so fired up that they ignore the hate speech or completely embrace it certainly aren’t staying home!

The thing that I think most people who don’t vote fail to understand is this: The election isn’t just about the president. You’re voting for things that affect you directly as well. There are congressmen and congresswomen. There are House representatives, local referendums that affect your state and your city. This can affect taxes, minimum wage, local teachers and so much more. If you don’t vote, this is all out of your hands. Heck, since a lot of people don’t do the research to see what’s actually on the ballot besides the president, many people leave the smaller stuff blank. That means your vote makes more of a difference here! 

Please vote. Please. Make a difference. Be proud of your choice. Be proud that you’re participating in something people would give their lives for. Tweet me your “I Voted” stickers! Next week, back to geek!

Follow Jenna Busch on Twitter @jennabusch and visit her site, Legion of Leia