By Wally Pearce, Winters Elder Day Council
Special to the Express
Since the first presidential election of 1789 (231 years ago) the Constitution granted states the power to set voting requirements and voters were virtually always landowning white Protestant males. Ever since then, people have fought for the right to vote and produced movements to end numerous restrictions that were subsequently mounted and continue even today in various forms. Many citizens have even died so that people are allowed to vote.
Typically, an election is a formal group decision-making process by which a qualified voting population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections are considered the usual mechanism by which representative democracy operates. There are as many reasons to vote as there are voters. Many people vote because they are for or against an issue or candidate. For others, voting is about ensuring high voter turnout in the community, which results in greater access to elected officials and more of a say in decisions affecting them.
Another responsibility of citizens voting is because the law does not require citizens to vote, but voting is a very important part of any democracy. Citizens vote for leaders to represent them and their ideas, and the leaders support the citizens’ interests. Remember, if you don’t vote, you’re letting others decide who wins and what candidates and issues matter. Today’s non-voters actually favor government and social services (like access to health care, spending on education, income inequality or public safety) at a much higher rate than people who vote regularly. Because there’s less than 100 days to the 2020 presidential election, if you’ve not yet registered to vote, do it now and encourage others to register.
More people voting can send an important message that they want improved policies and more attention paid to issues that impact their daily lives including the health of their communities.
Voting is one of our most important right as citizens. As long as this country has existed, people have had to fight and even die, for the right to vote. Regrettably, there have always been certain individuals and groups, who don’t want people to vote. It’s everyone’s responsibilities to stand up and vote to preserve this right and to honor those who went before us.
Register to vote because it gives you a say on important issues that affect you – from roads and recycling, to education and climate change, and who will represent you. If you’re not yet registered you can’t vote, and you will miss out on giving your opinion on issues important to you and your family including who will represent you and your community. Some people may choose to vote because of their knowledge of a candidate or ballot issue, their pocketbook, conscience, or even along party-lines. What’s important is… to vote.
Remember, not voting is a powerful declaration that becomes your secret vote and that no-vote position could even be against one’s own best interest. Eligible people must register to vote for change to happen or… conditions either stay the same… or worse yet… deteriorate.