The Power of Voting

By Joe Rector

I took the plunge this week and voted early. I enjoy casting my ballot without having to stand in line for hours in cold or wet weather. Amy and I traveled to the Karns Senior Center and the entire process took no more than ten minutes. In fact, the longest part was reading the information about changes to things in government.

I always try to vote, but on a few occasions, I’ve been unable to punch the buttons for the folks I wanted to represent me. To tell the truth, most of the time, my chosen candidate doesn’t win. Maybe my vote puts a curse on that individual. I never divulge for whom I’ve voted, but usually, I choose from column A and column B. Yes, I vote for the person whom I believe will best serve the interests of the people of our community or country.

According to news reports, more than 14 million folks have already voted in this year’s election, and that tops the voters in the last midterm election. That’s good news. Voters won’t be swayed to stay at home as some declare that elections are corrupt. I suppose that both sides have hot issues for which they are voting, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. The will of the people is what decides elections.

I’ve never understood why people who are eligible to vote don’t do so. Registering to vote is an easy task, and it allows a person to participate in democracy for the rest of his or her time. Yes, in some years people stand in lines for extended periods of time. Believe it or not, that is a good thing because it means more Americans are interested in participating in the process.

So many countries around this world are ruled by dictators who either hold fake elections or ignore the wills of their people and void election outcomes. Citizens in those places would give anything to live under a democratic government where people make the decisions. Yet, here, the country that has thrived with democracy, only about 40% vote in midterm elections; in presidential elections, 50-60% of eligible voters cast ballots.

These elections are all important. The excitement of a presidential election draws more participants, but what is more important is choosing members of the House and Senate who will work for the people they represent. Our votes send those elected officials to voice our desires. When a congressman doesn’t work for his constituents, he should be replaced in the next election cycle. Only when the desires of voters are contrary to the Constitution or are morally questionable should an elected leader refuse to stand and speak in favor of his voters.

Voting is a right and privilege for Americans. If we don’t use it, someday we might lose it. No tyrant is going to care a bit about our salaries or rights; he’ll spend his time and efforts expanding his power and wealth. The failure to vote is an act of surrendering to the desires of others, If a person doesn’t vote, he has no right to complain about anything that occurs in the country.

I’ve received my sticker for voting. Have you?