Have an opinion about the war in Iraq?
Then vote on Tuesday morning.
Wondering if Social Security will be there for you when you retire?
Then get up and out and vote on Tuesday morning.
Concerned about health care? Vote.
Thoughts on the marriage debate? Vote.
Opinions on immigration reform? Vote.
Defense against terrorism? Vote.
Nuclear threat in North Korea? Vote.
Stem cell research? Vote.
Protection of civil rights and liberties? Vote.
Those issues too esoteric for your concerns this minute? Then how about these:
Do you need a bigger Pell grant?
Then take the time to learn about candidate positions on student financial aid —- and then take the time to vote on Tuesday.
Want to see improvements in K-12 education? Go to the polls and vote.
How about doing something about crime in your neighborhood? Vote for the candidates who have the best platform to address the problem.
Wondering when somebody will do something about the minimum wage? Vote.
Driving from Rockville to Hyattsville on an Intercounty Connector? Vote.
Growth in Loudoun County? Vote.
Improvements in child care, senior care, social services? Vote.
We may have as wildly different opinions on these topics as the great range of all Americans today, and that’s our right as free citizens. Our responsibility is to act on these issues at the ballot box. Voting is a precious right, but it also is the most fundamental responsibility of citizenship in a free society.
“People get the government they deserve” — this old phrase is attributed to many political thinkers from Alexis de Tocqueville to Karl Marx. Whether you agree with the statement or not, the plain fact that emerged in our last two national elections is this: individual voters do make a great difference in the outcomes of even the biggest races. A relative handful of voters determined the last two presidential elections. In some states, races for the House and Senate, or state and local offices, have been determined by hundreds of votes. The mid-term elections on Tuesday, November 7 are among the most important in our nation’s history. For a roundup of the issues and races, see the Washington Post summary or the New York Times Election Guide.
Sadly, however, millions of Americans squander their rights by refusing to live up to their responsiblity to vote. Only 60 percent of eligible Americans voted in the presidential election in 2004. Rather than setting an example for the world, Americans generally have a worse record on voter participation than other democracies.
Voting is vitally important to the health of our city, states and society. Take the time to vote on Tuesday, November 7. (And I ask all faculty members and staff supervisors to encourage students and colleagues to vote, including providing flexibility in time commitments on Tuesday.)
Read more about your voting rights on the League of Women Voters website.
For more on elections in the Washington region, read the Washington Post’s regional summary.
For information about voting in these jurisdictions, click on the links: