Editorial: Commit to vote: It's the way to really celebrate July 4th
Posted July 4, 2016
Updated July 7, 2016
-- Four in 10 eligible voters won’t show up to vote in North Carolina.
-- Stand up for our nation’s founding principles by casting a ballot.
-- Do you really think it’s fair to complain about the government when you don’t vote?
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A CBC Editorial: Monday, July 4, 2016; Editorial# 8025
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
There is a lot to celebrate today. Our nation has been independent for 240 years.
Twelve-score is how Abraham Lincoln might put it. Twenty-four decades of self-government hasn’t been easy. Far too many of the concerns that led the founders to throw off the British colonial yoke – lack of the public’s voice in the halls of government; unequal and unfair treatment of too many to the benefit of too few; the threats of international turmoil to domestic tranquility, to mention a few -- are still with us today.
But those important concerns still don’t overshadow our democracy’s achievements. Even in the face of those who fight it, we are the most diverse inclusive and accepting nation on the planet. What other nation declares at its largest port: “Give me your tired, your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”?
The United States drives (not dictates) innovation and consumption in the global economy. The rights declared in 1776 by out founders, today are accepted as the universal rights for all humans: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
But, as bumper sticker wisdom puts it, “freedom isn’t free.” Still, it is not all that expensive. It just requires a commitment of a little time, determination and patience. Make sure you are registered to vote (the deadline is Oct. 14). Make sure you vote on Tuesday Nov. 8. You have plenty of time to plan and get it done – 126 days. You can register at most public libraries and at your local state Division of Motor Vehicles drivers’ license offices.
For those of us who do vote, our influence is actually pretty significant. In a good presidential election turnout, four in 10 North Carolinians who are old enough to vote will pass up the opportunity. Even among those who were actually registered to vote, three in 10 will take a pass – and that was in 2008 when North Carolina had its largest voter turnout percentage ever.
When there’s no presidential race on the ballot, the turnout is worse. In 2014, more than six in 10 of those old enough stayed away from the polls. While the bad news is that way too few people are showing up to vote, the good news, at least for those who vote, is that they have more clout. This past June, during the special statewide congressional and judicial primary, just 7.7 percent of those registered to vote – 508,716 of 6.6 million registered voters -- bothered to cast ballots. In a presidential election, the average turnout at a polling place is about 1,680 voters. In June that average was a mere 188 voters.
On this Independence Day you can a commit to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8. There’s plenty of time to plan -- enough time to watch 320,880 political commercials non-stop. Wouldn’t at least some of that time be better spent checking to be sure you’re registered and then casting your ballot?
What you need to know is just a phone call, click of a mouse or a swipe on a smartphone away. You can contact the N.C. Board of Elections to get all the details by phone at 866.522.4723; or on the web right here.
There is no better way to defend freedom and democracy than to be an active participant in it. Enjoy today’s celebrations and mark our national 240th year with a pledge to vote on Election Day.