The debates are over, now go vote
Well, it’s almost over, folks. In about two weeks, we will have elected a new president of this great country of ours. It seems like this election season has been going on for an eternity, not the year and a half that it has actually been.
And it has been an ugly one. Maybe that is perhaps why it feels like this has been an eternally long election cycle. And it could be that there really isn’t much going on locally this year. No one is up for a seat on the board of education, the board of county commissioners or the sheriff’s office. The Town of La Plata’s election for a new council and mayor is next spring and has yet to really kick into gear. There is a campaign for congress that is quietly flying under the radar between longtime 5th District incumbent Rep. Steny Hoyer (D) and Republican challenger Mark Arness, and, at a higher level, the Senate race to fill stalwart Democrat Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s seat between current 8th District Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D) and Kathy Szeliga, a Republican leader in the House of Delegates.
But on the local front, it has been relatively quiet.
Maybe that’s a good thing. The presidential race has whipped the nation into a near-constant frenzy. Just about daily, those who are following the latest election news have been waiting with rabid fervor over what dirty detail might emerge from the media to potentially damage the presidential candidate they most oppose. Will it be another batch of emails? Another dastardly sexual comment? A question of the candidate’s health? Another lawsuit against the candidate’s prior business interests?
At this point, there isn’t much outside of a smoking gun and thousands of witnesses that will change the voting public’s mind about its candidate. But one thing is still left to be done — we still have to vote.
There are fewer things that make us more American than heading to the polls to cast our vote for the person we view as the most fit to represent our ideals, beliefs and convictions. Voting is a chance to exercise our right to be heard, the greatest example of the First Amendment that we have.
And, despite what some politicians will say, the system is far from rigged. Countless nonpartisan and bipartisan studies have shown that actual election fraud simply doesn’t occur and instances of suspicious electoral results are miniscule at best. If we can keep convicted felons from voting, the system can’t be that rigged, can it?
Actually, voter apathy swings more elections than attempts to commit fraud. Too many people eligible to vote decide to sit at home and think their vote will not sway the outcome of an election. We wonder if a few hundred voters in Florida still think that way after the results of the 2000 election hung in the balance for weeks.
In 2016, it is easier than ever to get out and vote, with the option to vote early, vote by absentee ballot or hit the polls throughout the day on Election Day. Early voting begins next Thursday, Oct. 27, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department firehouse at 911 Washington Ave. in La Plata, and at the St. Charles Gleneagles Neighborhood Center, 4900 Kirkcaldy Court in Waldorf. Early voting will continue daily through Nov. 3. Election Day itself is Tuesday, Nov. 8 — mark your calendar now.
So, do your part as an American — get out and have your voice heard.