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Get it done; register to vote…it’s not just a right, it’s a privilege

Terry McMoore

The last day to register to vote in Montgomery County is October 6.Early voting begins October 15.

The right to vote and exercising your right to vote is the most valuable constitutional right we have. It is both a right and a privilege.

If you don’t vote, you deserve the government you get. It doesn’t matter which side of the political fence you’re on, because all Americans have the same issues and concerns for their families and their country.

The economy, the war, taxes, education, health care, social security, women rights and, especially in our community, veteran’s rights are at the top of the list in every household.

Many people over the centuries have fought, marched and even died so we could have the right to vote, yet many still don’t vote. In the August primary election in Montgomery County, fewer than 12 percent of voters participated. With this kind of turn out how do we expect to ever hold our elected officials accountable to the public?

Some say the system is broken, so that is why they don’t vote. There is some truth about the broken part, but by not voting we allow the same governmental practices to continue regardless of which party is in power.

Your vote is your voice. I am starting to take the same position as most politicians: If you don’t vote then I don’t want to hear your complaining. Ever wonder why your calls, letters and e-mails to your local, state, and national representatives don’t ever get answered? It’s because any smart politician checks to see if you are a registered voter first, then your voting record over the years and how you voted.

This information is public record and if I have it — which I do — then you can bet the politicians have it, too.

Another excuse I hear for not voting is the claim that “my vote does not count or does not matter.” Well, let me give you a little history lesson.

In 1800, when the results of the electoral college votes were opened by both Houses of Congress, there was a tie vote for President between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. That threw the election of president into the House of Representatives where Thomas Jefferson was elected our third president by a one vote margin.

In 1824, the House of Representatives defeated front runner Andrew Jackson by one vote and elected John Quincy Adams as the nation’s sixth president.

In a 1999 city election in Hillsborough County, Fla., one of the city council candidates won by a single vote.

And in 2000 the U.S. presidential election was decided by less than 1 percent of the vote.

Even felons don’t have an excuse for not getting registered to vote.

In 2006 our Tennessee state legislators passed a bill that specified the following: If you are off of parole and have paid all your fines and restitution to the courts and state, and if your child support payments are up to date then you can apply at your local election commission to have your voting rights restored.

Folks, it does not get any simpler than that.

Many election commissions allow you to register to vote online, but personally I prefer that you visit the election commission in person or just drop by the headquarters of the political party headquarters of your choice.

Either way you need to get it done! Register to vote by the Oct. 6 deadline. It sets a good example for our youth and it’s your personal responsibility!


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