Herbert Hoover on the Importance of Voting

by Matthew Schaefer

Herbert Hoover casting his ballot in Palo Alto, CA 11/8/1932

Herbert Hoover casting his ballot in Palo Alto, CA 11/8/1932

Sometimes history loops back on itself and offers timely advice for the present and for the future.  In a reply to a press inquiry, October 5, 1953, former President Herbert Hoover offered advice that needs no further comment:

‘The weakest link in the whole chain of protections to liberty is the vote.  Other protections can be provided by law and officials designated to look after them.  The first step in protection of representative government is the vote.  But the act is voluntary.  If people do not go to the polls, freedom will die at its roots.

It is always a mystery to me why at every election there must be urging by a thousand voices: ‘Go to the Polls.’  Either our people must be absent minded or not concerned with their own safety.  You may be sure that every fellow with an ‘ism’ or a wild ‘do-not-like’ will be there.  If you want to neutralize him, then go and vote.’

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