Election Day is one of the most solemn and important days on my
calendar. For 60 years I have been an American voter, and there is no prouder or more humbling moment than to stand before a ballot box and express my voice with respect to the future of this great country.
Voting is your voice in America. When you don’t vote – you silence
yourself, and you allow someone else to speak for you. It is critical
that Americans understand that freedom is not free—it was hard-fought, hard-won and came at a significant cost.
Voting is visceral in America and may be associated with gut-wrenching
decisions, weighty choices and the collective outcomes shapes
path-forward platforms within this country. From the US President to
local school board members, there are no small elections. Each vote is important, timely and relative to America's judicial system.
Americans through the centuries have fought for your voice. In
mud-soaked uniforms on foreign lands, in petticoats along picket
lines, under the violent baton of protest, in the eloquent prose of
printer’s ink, behind the patient posture of sit-ins, beneath the gavel of legal arguments and the persuasive language of transformational debates...our ancestors forged our voting rights.
When you don’t vote – you dishonor these sacrifices.
It does not matter if you are disillusioned with the Congress, the
legislature, the governor, the President, the rich, the poor, the
Electoral College or even the Constitution – no one can hear your
silence. Every vote counts, no matter if you're a Democrat in a red
state, a Republican in a blue state or an Independent or have no party affiliation—your vote counts even if you are canceling out your mother-in- law’s vote each year.
The United States has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the
industrialized world. We are ninth from the bottom! In 1876, 83
percent of Americans voted when Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican
Rutherford B. Hayes squared off in an Electoral College squeaker. But
in our last two Presidential elections, only 60 percent of the
electorate voted. In a midterm election season, America can typically muster a little over 35 percent of participating voters. Moreover, 51 million eligible voters are not even registered!
Technology is offering new options to increase votership such as easy
early voting processes and digital registration.
What will get you to the polls this year – frustration, ideas, values,
issues or personalities? Only voters win elections – everyone else is a bystander.
VOTING IS YOUR VOICE – let it be heard!