Publisher’s Letter: Why Vote?

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

While it may seem that savagery of opponents in electoral campaigns is a modern phenomenon, vicious campaigning goes way back in the history of many, if not all democracies. Lampooning of candidates by their rivals may even date as far back as ancient Greece.

But of course in today’s times, if you don’t go out of your way to avoid exposure to it, you can witness modern-day candidates trashing their opponents relentlessly and mercilessly — think Twitter and yikes! — that’s just one method.

When the gloves are off, you may even see your favorite candidate behaving badly in a barrage of nasty accusations and mud-slinging. It’s enough to turn off the most dedicated and civic-minded person to the idea of following the candidates and actually then following through and casting their vote.

But democracy functions poorly with low voter turnout — even in municipal elections.

And in fact, when you don’t vote, you turn your non-vote into a hidden vote for the candidate you like the least all because you didn’t vote against them.

Elections have consequences and not voting is forfeiting your voice. Statistics claim that among young adults less than half vote. Perhaps they don’t realize that where their tax dollars are spent and even how much tax they wind up paying is left to the decisions of politicians the voting public placed in office. Through not voting nonvoters let other people decide for them.

If part of why you don’t vote is the “campaigning circus” leading up to a major election, you don’t need to participate in that. In fact, you can avoid it altogether by skipping every ad that pops up on your computer screen or heading for a snack or beverage when an ad pops up on your TV screen. How will you then vote when the time comes you may ask? It’s simple: When the time comes for you to cast your vote, Google “the candidates’ platforms.” Read up on their differences. Then cast your vote for the candidate whose values and declarations of intent most match what you’d like to see happen going forward. This is not foolproof but it works a whole lot better than failing to register and then cast your vote — and heck, in Colorado we don’t even have to show up at the polls. We can mark our ballot, sign the back of the envelope, put a stamp on it and mail it or walk it to the polls. In many other States civic-minded citizens actually stand in long lines waiting for an available voting booth to exercise their right to vote.

In this edition, we have taken the time to summarize the upcoming local ballots throughout Northern Colorado. We dived a little deeper in Wellington and asked the Trustee candidates to respond to some basic questions about themselves and why they are running. Hopefully someday North Forty News will have the resources to do that for every election. We would love to!

If you don’t usually vote, we hope the last election was the last time you sat on the sidelines and let others decide for you. Get out there, participate, and make your voice heard — VOTE!!!

 

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Blaine Howerton

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