Editorial: Your vote can make a difference

Editorial Board • Aug 1, 2018 at 8:57 PM

Let’s get one thing on the table — then immediately off — before we implore you to get out and vote on Election Day: Voting is not a duty.

Truth be told, it isn’t even a right notably guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps that explains why in this country we have such a hodgepodge of election laws that vary widely from state to state. After all, it is the states that set guidelines and laws for voting, not the federal government.

But no, voting is not a duty. Nor should it be. No one should be forced, nor ridiculed into, casting a vote in an election in which they have no interest nor desire to participate. Eligible voters make all sorts of claims as to the reasons they don’t vote. But frankly, it’s usually just laziness. We’re in a society where people can’t be bothered with the mundane task of taking an interest in who makes the laws that impact them every single day. Heck, why would anyone want to have a say in how they live?

Yet those same folks will gripe and moan and, well, you know, every time a law or ordinance is passed by someone for whom they didn’t vote.

“My one vote won’t make a difference, so why bother?” We’ve all heard it again and again.

Your vote can make a difference. Multiple times in past elections we have seen local races decided by less than a dozen votes. So if even half of those who believe their vote doesn’t matter actually went to the polls, what do you reckon would happen? We either get decisive victories, or we get different outcomes. Depending on the race, we might need one or the other.

Voting is a privilege. It is a legitimate privilege enjoyed by less than half of the civilized world. And even in some places, the privilege of voting is hardly a privilege at all when the outcome is predetermined as it is in, say, Russia, which is effectively a dictatorship.

Voting represents the very heart of a democratic republic. It is the voice that the people clearly send to government saying, “This is what we want. This is how we want our (city, county, state, nation … choose one) to be governed. These are the candidates we choose to represent us and our beliefs.”

Voter turnout expectations are low for Thursday’s primary. That’s a shame. We should be shocked by low turnout. Instead, it has become the norm.

Several key races will essentially be decided tomorrow. Some are expected to be tight. All will have a significant impact on us in the years to come.

So exercise this wonderful privilege you are fortunate to enjoy. The blood of thousands has been spilled to protect this benefit of living in the United States of America. Make every drop that has been shed worth the sacrifice.

Go vote, if you haven’t already. Have a say. Let your vote speak your conscience. Send a message. Help shape the future.

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