Vote! | Planet Ryan

Assuming you’ve seen the myriad of political “vote for me” signs lining the roads around the county, you know election day is just a few short weeks away. For some, this time of year is quite exciting, as candidates make their last minute stump speeches and try to convince the public why they’re the best person for the job.

For others, it’s the most annoying time of the year — radio, TV and newspapers are chock full of political ads, often times taking the “attack” approach on one another. Not many people like that, but it is an age-old strategy still used to win elections.

It’s no mystery that more and more potential voters have become disillusioned by the whole process and usually end up thinking, “Why should I vote, it’s not like my vote matters?”

But when it comes to local elections, nothing could be further from the truth.

You know why the hard-charging candidates who really want to win go knocking on your door to talk to you personally about why they’re the best person for the job? Because they know and understand that when it comes to local elections, which are usually decided by a small percentage of the voting population, even ONE vote can make a huge difference.

There are hundreds of stories out there of candidates who have won or lost local elections by one vote. It happens every single election cycle.

Here in Monroe County, with the exception of presidential voting years, the percentage of registered voters who actually vote is never as impressive as it could or should be. We do better than some counties, sure, but there’s always room for improvement. I don’t understand what the problem is, personally. Why wouldn’t you want to vote for the people who directly control so many aspects of your daily life? From roads to schools to property taxes — wouldn’t it behoove you, especially if you have children, to do your research and actually get out and vote? Of course it would. Voting in the right people who sit at the table will directly affect your future in a multitude of ways.

According to statistics from the Monroe County clerk’s office, in this type of election (similar to 2010), Monroe County sees about a 50 percent voter turnout. That’s good, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Take 15 minutes out of your day on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to stop by your polling station and vote. Or, vote early by visiting the courthouse. You really can make a difference.

We preach “freedom” all around this planet and like to speak out against dictatorships and other countries who aren’t lucky enough to have democracy, but we quickly forget what the true meaning of democracy actually is — the ability for every citizen to have a voice. If we’re not using this voice, then we sort of become hypocrites, right?

So, when Nov. 4 rolls around, if you believe in freedom and democracy and want to see positive changes in your community, get out there and vote.

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