Defend democracy by voting in this election
In 2014, only 35 percent of eligible voters turned out. In 2016, in an obviously deeply contested election, only 58 percent of voters voted. With the availability of absentee ballots and early voting, what’s the excuse? Will you vote this year?
There’s no question that campaigns get ugly, and politicians sometimes resort to embarrassingly juvenile behavior. (We certainly have seen that in Calvert County recently.) But, in my opinion, that’s the very reason we must vote, not decline to participate.
At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” To which Dr. Franklin famously responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” He didn’t say a republic if you vote for my candidate, or vote for this party as opposed to another. He didn’t say if the president can keep it. And he didn’t attack the questioner as the enemy of the people. He said, a republic if “you” can keep it.
According to a Pew Research Study in 2018, millennials will soon be the largest voting block in this country. In 2016, there were 62 million millennials of voting age, and there were 70 million baby boomers. Millennials make up 27 percent of the voting eligible population, while baby boomers (my generation) make up 31 percent. Sixty-two million millennials were of voting age two years ago, and neither major presidential candidate received more than 66 million votes. The Maryland governor’s race in 2014 was decided by about 70,000 votes out of 1.6 mil- lion votes cast. Local contests in Calvert County are often decided by a few thousand votes, even a few hundred in the primary elections.
If you don’t like the direction this county, state or country is going, you have the votes to change that. If you are sick and tired of county commissioners who are only beholden to business interests, we have the votes we need to change that. But if we don’t vote, we silence ourselves in this most important civic responsibility. We allow those who make campaign contributions to dictate the results and to ignore us if we don’t turn out. We enable the politicians who don’t speak for us. Politicians listen to those who vote.
Speak out. Vote.
Pamela Werner, Huntingtown