It’s your right and your duty to vote. It’s a cornerstone of our society that we be led by a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Your vote is your voice, and if you don’t use it, you have no right to complain.
Every election year – especially in presidential election years – the public is bombarded with messages such as these.
There are get-out-the-vote drives mounted from various quarters.
There has been a push in Illinois to make it easier than ever to vote, allowing people to vote for weeks before Election Day, even if they haven’t registered yet.
And yet, even in the most hotly contested elections, at least one in four registered voters in DeKalb County don’t cast a ballot, to say nothing of those who are eligible to vote but do not register.
According to records on the DeKalb County website, President Barack Obama’s victory against Republican John McCain represented the high-water mark for voter turnout in the past 16 years. In that race, 74.4 percent of registered voters came to the polls.
What about those other 25 percent? Don’t they have a stake in this, too? Why would they choose not to exercise their right?
Surveys and studies of Americans’ voting behaviors have shown that reasons for not voting include being too busy, feeling that their vote won’t count, being disillusioned with the system, or that it’s simply inconvenient.
Unfortunately, sitting out does nothing to help any of that.
The system won’t change by you not participating, and the only way your vote is assured not to count is if you don’t cast one.
Even if you don’t like, say, President Obama or Gov. Romney, they’re not the only candidates on the presidential ballot. And the presidential race is hardly the only issue that will be settled by the Nov. 6 election.
There are many local races, including for Congress, state representative, state’s attorney and many local referendum questions to be decided, and they are just as likely if not more to affect our local communities.
If you’re too busy on Nov. 6, you can vote early, including from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, at one of the four early-voting locations around DeKalb County when you find the time between now and Nov. 3.
Even if you haven’t registered to vote, you can register and cast a ballot at the same time either at the Northern Illinois University Holmes Student Center, 340 Carroll Ave., in DeKalb, or the DeKalb County Gathertorium, 200 N. Main St., in Sycamore.
Voting has never been easier or more important. So get out and vote on Nov. 6 – or sooner.