De­fend democ­racy by vot­ing in this election

The Calvert Recorder - - Letters To The Editor -

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

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