Why registering to vote is important

Part 3 of 3

Voting is a duty of all citizens; your country needs you to do it. The more of us who vote, the stronger our decisions as a people.

It’s also a privilege to vote in a free, fair and honest election. Much of the world does not have that.

Don’t you want to have a say in who will represent you in your town or village board, or as town highway superintendent, justice or clerk? Those choices are on the ballot this Nov. 7.

In good conscience, can you duck out of helping choose who represents us in the U.S. House of Representatives? There are so far 10 declared candidates in the mix — and maybe more coming — for New York’s 21st Congressional District. The election isn’t until November 2018, but if you want to help choose each party’s candidate in the primaries — which are not yet scheduled but possibly in June — you need to be registered in that party. If you’re not, the deadline to change party registration is coming right up on Friday, Oct. 13.

People love to hate politicians, but that rings kind of hollow when half of eligible voters don’t vote. Americans like to consider the United States the birthplace of the modern democracy, but even in presidential election years when voter turnout is highest, Census Bureau data shows that about 70 percent of eligible American voters are registered and only about 60 percent of them actually cast ballots.

In midterm congressional elections, such as the one coming up next year, the registration rate drops to about 65 percent and the voting percentage to 45.

Contrast that with Scotland, where in a 2014 referendum on whether to secede from the United Kingdom, 97 percent of eligible voters were registered and about 85 percent actually voted.

If you’re unsure about voting this time around, please make sure you get registered anyway. Otherwise you take away your options. You can always pass later, but if you later decide you want to vote, you won’t be able to if you aren’t registered.

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Friday’s editorial focused on WHEN one must register to vote. Saturday’s covered HOW to do so, and today’s explains WHY it’s important.

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