Election Day Approaches….Do You Have A Vote?

Election day is coming…..unless you have been under the proverbial rock for the past several months you realize that there is at least one pretty big election coming up next month.  Sure many of us are tired of the negative ads and badmouthing that seems to be par for the course during the weeks leading up to Election Day.  However I would submit that the process of voicing one’s opinion, sharing facts and perceptions, proving and disproving arguments, and otherwise engaging in political discourse is vital to the essence of America.  In many countries there is no such thing as dissent or voicing of viewpoints contrary to the ruling government.  In such places often the media is owned and operated by the government, free thinkers and rebels are jailed or tortured or worse, the military rules with a heavy hand, and the citizens and their “civilization” suffer in the process.

Fortunately in the United States we have choices and the means to become quite informed about the events and people around us.  I hear too many people make comments such as “voting doesn’t matter” or “why follow the news?..it doesn’t affect me”.  Such comments and the mentality surrounding them is problematic in a free society such as ours.  Voter apathy in the United States is the strangest phenomenon to me……..in countries where voting requires treacherous travel or other obstacles the voter turnout is often higher in proportion to the United States where we have laws and standards in place to secure our right to vote. 

We are all busy and there are so many things going on around us.  I will be the first to admit that I am not able to keep up with the news as much as I would like.  But part of being a good citizen and an asset to the country is to be informed and exercise one’s right to vote.  Regardless of your political preference—or lack thereof—-few things are more American than participating in the political process.  Participation can be as involved as running for office or volunteering for campaigns or as simple as placing your vote.

The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is Friday, October 12th.  Click here to find out how and where to register.   And, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, if for some reason you cannot register by this Friday you can still vote:

Individuals who miss the registration deadline may register in person and then vote at One-stop voting sites in the person’s county of residence during the one-stop absentee voting period (Early Voting). In order to register during a one-stop period, the applicant must show acceptable proof of name and residence in the county.

For those of you unable to get to the polls on Election Day, November 6th, early voting is available throughout  most of the United States.  This year early voting in North Carolina begins on Thursday, October 18th and ends on Saturday, November 3rd.

So no more excuses…..take the time to register to vote and take a little more time to become informed about the candidates, the isssues, and draw your own educated conclusions.  One suggestion:  dig a bit deeper than the information you find on television.  Use newspapers, the Internet, and other more comprehensive sources to obtain the information that will give you sound reasons for your decisions and perceptions.  And the education and information you receive should have shelf life well past Election Day.  Happy voting!

P.S.  Big thanks to the UNCG Department of Political Science for teaching me so much about politics, government, and the need to vote…….thanks Dr. Griffiths, Dr. Crowther, Dr. Prysby, and many others.  Go Spartans!  Homecoming is on the way!

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