Each ballot cast is important

From press & staff reports

It’s Election Day. Do you know where your vote is? If you’re keeping it in your back pocket, you may be doing something yourself and those around you a civic disservice.

As the Democratic and Republican Primary Elections are right around the corner, a number of residents will not take the time to exercise their right, as well as privilege, to make their voices heard by voting. The fact is that your vote could make all the difference in not only swaying an election, but in fulfilling your duty as a proud American citizen.

We’ve all heard claim from nonvoters that their one vote simply doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. That type of belief has been proven wrong in past occurrences, even right here in Choctaw County.

A perfect example would be the Nov. 2011 General Elections. In the race for Choctaw County Supervisor, District 1, the winner was decided by less than 10 votes. This shows that the fate of a particular candidate can be determined by just the smallest of margins.

There have been many occurrences of elections that have gone down to the wire. Here are some important events in the U.S. history that were decided by just a few votes, according to the State of Illinois:
Richard Nixon, not John F. Kennedy, would have become President of the U. S. in 1960 if one person from each voting place had voted differently.

If just one U.S. Senator had voted differently, the U.S. President Andrew Jackson would have been removed from office in 1867.

Texas might not have become part of the United States in 1845 if one U. S. Senator had voted differently. The vote in the U.S. Senate was 27-25 to invite Texas to become a state. If it had been a tie, Texas would not have been asked to become part of the Union.

General discomfort can be a major factor in keeping many people away from the voting booth. Many fear that their selection of party or candidate may be too overwhelming, while other simply choose not to take make time in their schedules to go cast their votes.

If voting intimidates you or you need motivation in keeping it on your schedule, involve a family member or acquaintance in your planning process. Coordinate to meet the morning of the election and head to the polls together.

If there is a significant reason that you cannot travel to the polls and cast an actual vote, there are other options that may be available, such as absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are given in special circumstances for voters that are unable to travel to a physical polling place to cast their vote.

Voting with a significant other, parent or close friend can help calm any nerves and also help you from backing out. Add in a breakfast, lunch or dinner to make the event a memorable one that you may turn into a regular occurrence.

Whatever it takes for you to get out and vote should be done. Living in a democracy, we have a say in what goes in the political world around us. When you choose not to vote, your voice is not heard, meaning that it is not a full democracy.

On Aug. 4, make your voice heard and participate in the democracy of our country.