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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

From the Editorial Page of the Record Journal: Vote with confidence

As published in the Record Journal on Election Day, Tuesday November 8, 2011

Voting is Democracy’s bedrock — a truly American activity which should not be taken for granted.

Elsewhere on this planet other societies don’t have it so well. In recent Arab Spring uprisings, thousands risked lives to demonstrate in favor of ballot-based elections, rather than further remain subjects beneath despotic leaders who abuse authority and employ violence to retain power. For centuries we have enjoyed what these modern protestors fight for. Today we can celebrate their efforts, and our first-world freedoms, by exercising one of a U.S. citizen’s most important rights — voting.

At last, Election Day has dawned. Local political clamor will soon yield to results. In copious political opinion letters to the Record-Journal, readers have expressed preferences for individual candidates and thoughts on pertinent issues in oft-times unequivocal terms. But mistake not the numerous political-letter- writers as enough interested individuals to decide an election. Every vote counts, and it is your responsibility — not someone else’s — to register your opinion.

As our country continues preparations for next year’s presidential race, municipal voting comes to have its own unique flavor in comparison. People familiar with one another in the same community get to express support, or lack thereof, for local candidates who are neighbors, and not TV personalities or names in a newspaper. It’s a chance for civic leaders to see what sits well with voters — issues and allegiances come into political alignment.

Campaign season is a long haul, and even though many candidates enjoy getting out and meeting people, it’s just possible some have rung enough doorbells by now. Nevertheless, let’s not forget that extensive efforts by political hopefuls and their supporters add impetus to the fullness of Election Day’s turnout and significance. Underscore this point: voting — it’s part of a great American tradition and the exercise of a powerful right in democracy — a freedom not to be wasted or squandered.

And before exercising such rights, residents should fulfill their responsibility to make informed, confident decisions. Do research. Learn not only about candidates as community members but also where they stand on important issues. For instance: in today’s entrenched fiscal stagnation, those running for municipal office have by now expounded personal financial and economic development policies of all sorts. Citizens should identify which proposed monetary measures they believe as best suited to propel more expeditious economic recovery, and vote accordingly.

In coming days, supportive signs will swiftly dwindle from front lawns and political ads will disappear from television air time. Election Day will fade into tomorrow. But the results — candidates authorized to take office, some replacing incumbents while others gaining additional terms — will last for two or more years. Thus, we hope that all voters participating in today’s election have done reasonable, if not thorough, homework. Make that vote count — know your mind. Vote with pride.

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