November 5, 2013

Editorial: It's essential, easy to vote


---- — Today is your chance to make your opinions more than just words.

In letters, online comments and on the streets, North Country residents have been vocal in expressing their feelings about candidates and propositions.

You can help choose who makes decisions on county, city, town and village governmental bodies — the leaders most directly linked to you.

But, sadly, the majority of people who can vote in an election don’t actually do it. The Clinton County Board of Elections tells us that in a typical election that doesn’t include a presidential race, only about 30 percent of registered voters will pull the levers.

It requires a little effort to vote, but not all that much when you consider the importance of having a direct role in choosing your governance.

You get in a car or walk to your polling site (listed in today’s Press-Republican), sign in, mark your ballot, feed it into the machine and head out. The whole process should take no more than 15 minutes, unless you want to do a lot of last-minute pondering.

If you are afraid that voting would be difficult or confusing, don’t be apprehensive. Trained poll workers are there to help you, and they are eager to show you how it’s done.

The weather shouldn’t hinder you today. The forecast calls for sunshine and temperatures in the mid 40s.

If you have kids, we suggest you take them with you to vote. Get them started early on seeing how it works, and let them know that you think it is essential to participate in this basic American right.

We asked Press-Republican Facebook readers for suggestions on how to get more citizens to the polls. Of course, there were grumblings about how if there were better candidates, people would vote. But, on the local level, many very good candidates have stepped forward to ask voter permission to serve.

Romeyn Prescott wondered why elections have to happen on a single weekday. He suggested people get a whole week or at least a weekend to make it to the polls.

Brenna Miller thought people who do make the effort should get a little refund on the tax they pay that day, while Melissa Facteau took the opposite approach and suggested that those who don’t vote be assessed a “not participating tax.”

Jackie Pangborn talked about teaching kids “at a young age that it is our duty as a citizen in this great country of ours to vote. We need to impress upon children and young adults to have pride in their country. Show them that it is a privilege that a lot of other countries do not have.”

We especially liked the posting by 25-year-old Nikki M. Yates, who said she voted, by absentee ballot, for the first time this year.

“I usually don’t bother, but now I do because I want a say in my future and the future of my children. How can I sit here and complain about judges, treasurer or even the government when I don’t voice my opinion in some way? I vote because I want my opinion to count. I vote because this is my home, too.”

Show you care about your home community. Vote today.