If I asked you if you voted in every election, would you be able to say yes? Did you also know that it’s public record, and that I can quickly look up whether or not your answer is truthful?
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” – Abraham Lincoln
Most people vote in general elections, and many even get fired up for primaries, but in non-presidential years, the numbers drop significantly. In 2014 only 44% of NC voters made it to the polls, whereas 69% of voters voted in the 2016 presidential election (stats on NSBE website).
Why is this so important? Because the president is not the only one that holds authority in our country. The individuals we vote for that hold judicial, commissioner, clerk, sheriff, education, senate, and representative positions impact our daily lives much more than that of the president. These people are responsible for our local rights, rules, holding trials and upholding laws in court, funding for education and public services, police and fire departments, local parks and recreation, public transportation, civil services like water and sewer, taking care of our roads and infrastructure, and so much more. Yes, the laws of our federal government do impact what we can do locally so that’s important too, but if you ignore one and pay attention to the other, you might as well be the person who mops the floor before you vacuum/sweep up all the grit and grime ( yes, I’m aware that many of you probably do that and it’s gross, sorry ’bout it. Makes about as much sense as putting your socks on over your shoes ).
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.” – FDR
Now that we’ve established how big of an impact local elections actually have on your life, it’s time to register and research. It’s easy to say “I’m a democrat or republican so I’m voting all DEM or REP, or I’m a woman so I’ll vote for any woman on the ballot”…but it wasn’t easy for the founding fathers to create America, so for goodness sake if they fought the Revolutionary War so that we could be free and live a life of equality where we can exercise our fundamental rights, then you can do some research. Not to say we haven’t had some major issues along the way, but we live in a broken world with broken people, so it’s up to us to work hard, keep learning, and do good; in politics but more importantly as an individual member of society. So look up your candidates, talk to other people in your district, reach out to candidates and volunteers to find out more about their vision for our State. And among that, evaluate your beliefs, hopes, and desires for your State, and get to know the beliefs, hopes, and desires of others. In a world where polarization is becoming the popular route, take the route of integrity where you don’t devalue someone else’s belief because you feel that your own is superior. It is possible to disagree, vote differently, and still sit down for lunch together. Who knows, you might learn something that changes your life just by talking to people who are different from you.
“A vote is like a rifle, the usefulness depends on the character of it’s user.” – Theodore Roosevelt
There are a million different conversations that could be had about political ideology, controversy, and the good bad and ugly of it all. But this is not the place for that, I’m just here to remind you that to have a voice in our government as a voter is a huge gift that many people around the world have, and still would die for. People actually died so that you could vote, isn’t that wild and humbling? And you can thank their living colleagues every day; they’re called veterans and service members. So go register, do your research, talk to some people different from you, and then make your choices on November 6th and forevermore. I feel like I should say go in peace now…but in case all of this confuses you and you’re thinking “WHAT DO I EVEN DO NOW”, go to the State Board of Elections site below and you’ll find lot’s of helpful information. Check them out, and if you have any thoughts, comments, gripes, praises, facts, or wisdom to offer, please leave them below. You can even reach out personally if you want, I don’t bite. But I do hug, so if I see you in person be prepared. Now you can go in peace.
From my home to yours,
The best source for NC elections? NORTH CAROLINA STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS WEBSITE Here you can look up how to register, if you’re registered, your polling place, get a sample ballot for your district, and many other helpful resources.