by Tim O’Hare
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As we enter the election season, it is important to be reminded just how much voting matters.
The government of the United States of America is a government that was established of the people, by the people and for the people. But to truly have our voices heard, more people need to vote instead of staying home and letting others decide who leads our country, our state, and our county. It is important to vote no matter how “big” or “small” the election seems.
In municipal and school board elections, it isn’t uncommon to see a turnout of only four to six percent of the electorate. That means that four to six percent of your local population is responsible for selecting leadership who will determine the decisions and direction for your local community. Who votes has a powerful impact on public policy.
It seems that today, perhaps more than ever before in recent history, citizens are concerned about our government — on both a local and national level. Will 2016 be the year of change, when citizens turn their concerns and complaints into action?
If you think your vote doesn’t matter, think again. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was elected President by a single vote in the House of Representatives after a tie in the electoral college. In 1845, the U.S. Senate passed the convention annexing Texas by two votes. In 2000, George W. Bush won the state of Florida by just 537 votes out of nearly six million voters in the state.
Every vote matters.
Take time to educate yourself on elections. Know where the candidates stand on issues that matter to you and your community. A concerned and informed electorate is a better one.
Voting is a quick process — at most you may give a few hours of your day to have your voice heard. Are those few hours worth the years of disappointment in the government if you choose not to vote? Before you complain about our government again, make the commitment to vote in the next election. If you choose not to vote, you should have no right to complain.
Our nation, our state and our way of life depend on the power of the people. Voting is the means given to you to have your voice heard.
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