EDITORIAL

Voting, like freedom, must evolve

Posted

Whether you’ve already gone to the polls, cast your vote through the mail or an emergency ballot, or are planning on going later today before polls close at 8 p.m., exercising your most fundamental American right – to vote – is a responsibility that everyone of voting age should take seriously.

Without getting into specific politics, today’s election is likely to be a landmark moment in our democracy where either a tone is set nationwide to go against the direction we’ve embarked since the 2016 presidential election or where those who have taken power will continue to seize it and control it for the foreseeable future.

Wherever you stand on the scale of satisfaction regarding how things are being handled throughout our government, the fact that you can take a stand is the entire concept of democracy – and it’s thanks to our nation’s veterans that we are provided that opportunity. It is too easy to take for granted our ability to choose those who lead us.

The system is far from perfect – as there are still far too many barriers to voting in far too many places, and gerrymandering exists to a troubling extent across Congressional Districts in many states to a point where it cannot be considered anything but unfair. However, in comparison to nations who truly only have faux elections, our system would be considered a grand improvement.

This does not mean we sit on our historic laurels as a democratic nation. Our voting populace must become more vigilant than ever before to combat unprecedented threats on our democracy. These threats come from direct means, such as voting manipulation and hacking attacks aimed at local municipalities and Secretary of States’ offices, but also indirect means – specifically through false, narrative-based “news” articles that get spread like viruses on social media platforms.

This isn’t conspiracy talk either. It has been demonstrated through a recent study that a significant number of voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 were led away from voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016 due to their belief in at least one out of three selected fake news stories. On the conservative side, even if their belief in fake news led just 5 percent of voters who would have likely voted for Clinton towards Trump, such a swing could have played a pivotal role in the outcome.

We find ourselves in a new era of information that our veterans who fought in decades past could have never dreamed of. While they agonized over the time it took for letters to be sent back and forth from loved ones – if they ever got delivered at all – today we can be brought into face-to-face contact at the touch of a screen, from thousands of miles away.

However, this means that we are also faced with more information than ever before. Only diligence and a desire to find out the truth will lead you away from being manipulated for whatever agenda causes someone to publish blatantly false materials during election season. That onus is on individual voters.

As our society develops to this rapid expansion of technological capabilities, so must our democracy develop to what “voting” means, and how precariously our democratic process is actually balanced. There is already ample reason to argue that our elections are not quite the illustrious, infallible process our elected officials wax poetically about during election season. The Electoral College, for example, is a process that many millions of Americans probably do not fully understand, if they’re aware of it at all.

The only way our country will remain truly democratic – and we’re currently listed at #21 out of 167 ranked countries (indicating a “flawed democracy”) on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Democracy Index,” which ranks things like the functioning of government, the electoral process and the participation of its citizenry – is if we continue to realize that voting rights are not ingrained indefinitely.

Similar to freedom – which any veteran will tell you isn’t truly free – voting rights are privileges that we are wise to not take for granted. More participation means we have a better representative sample of the country and a better chance to continue our nation’s growth in a direction that works best for the most people possible.

Comments

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richardcorrente

Voting is not only a right. It's an obligation that all too many people ignore. There is a bill in congress gaining bi-partisan support, that would require every voter to vote just like in Australia, where voters must vote but they can select "none of the above", if they choose to. The elected officials and the referendums on the ballot effect everyone. Everyone should have a voice on them.

PLEASE VOTE!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, November 6
Justanidiot

eyes voted twice cause eyes new that some ruskie or mexican was gonna vote four or five times to elect one of "them" into office.

votes early and votes often

Tuesday, November 6
Cat2222

Everyone has the right to make the decision on whether or not they vote. To make a law to mandate voting won't provide the results you are looking for. It is the same with religion. You can't force someone to participate if they do not want to. It only breeds contempt. Anytime you force someone to bend to your way of thinking it will have the opposite affect. Let people make up their own mind on voting. Young people inspire other young people to vote. People they respect telling them to get out and vote motivate them to do it. Making it a federal law would ensure less young people vote.

Personal choice and freedom are the hallmarks of our country.

Tuesday, November 6
CrickeeRaven

Cat, yet again we see how poorly the two-time election reject understands anything.

In Australia, citizens pay a fine if they do not vote. This increases overall turnout, but it is not 100%.

And as we know, the two-time election reject is under the delusional belief that a higher turnout would have helped him in the recent primary, but because of the long list of defects in his candidacy that he willingly and repeatedly showed on this website, he would still have lost.

Tuesday, November 6
davebarry109

"The Electoral College, for example, is a process that many millions of Americans probably do not fully understand, if they’re aware of it at all." This is largely because schools don't teach enough history or civics. How is this possible? Is it because the liberal agenda has control of our schools? We don't need 10 years of 'sex ed' in schools. We do need folks to know how the constitution works.

Wednesday, November 7
richardcorrente

Dear Davebarry109,

EXCELENT idea!

We should reinforce the "obligation" to vote in our schools.

That and the constitution should receive more attention.

Well put.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, November 8
patientman

Cat2222,

Good point. Look at how much more recycling is now being rejected because too much of the load is contaminated with trash. Forcing non recyclers to recycle has cost us. Recycling is extremely lazy but if people don't want to do it, don't make them do it because they're going to put trash in their bins out of spite.

Friday, November 9
Cat2222

davebarry109, not that I don't agree with your comment about teaching being taught more in school, because I do. However, I can't get behind your comment regarding sex ed in schools. The number of teenage pregnancies is at an all time low, That is partly due to the amount of education we received in school regarding contraception. Liberal agenda? Yes, but with results that cannot be denied.

4 days ago