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The cherished freedom of voting

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POSTED August 2, 2014 12:08 a.m.

I was almost embarrassed.

A semi-humorous article I wrote about my reveries appeared next to an essay by Bulletin Executive Editor Dennis Wyatt, that in its way took us all to task.  I felt a little red faced.

We have a problem with government, he wrote, well it’s not so much the framework of government, it may be the people who run it.

“Outside of bellyaching, many of us don’t bother to vote, we don’t invest much energy into keeping abreast or get involved with government even on the local level where we can have the biggest impact.”

Are we not red faced when we hear that only 67.5 percent of the state’s eligible citizens are registered, putting us 45th lowest in the country? Wait.  Of those eligible who voted, we ranked 48th.

 Are you kidding?   The right to vote is priceless.  We make it a chore instead of a joy.   We complain that our vote doesn’t make a difference.  It does for many reasons.  We argue that voter fraud sways elections although studies show little evidence of voter fraud exists.

A friend in the East by the name of Percy Montague was the son of a French father and Russian mother.  Growing up in the Stalin era, he experienced the difficulties of dictatorial life, including government’s ability to thwart free elections.

Having been able to emigrate to this country, he was stunned by our freedoms, particularly the right to vote.

It was a joy to him.  And he celebrated each election by donning formal clothes as he went to vote.  After, he celebrated the occasion with a glass of champagne.

The low voter turnout exists despite on-line voter registration, including same day registration.

I once loved going to the polling station.  The ambiance exuded freedom.  I exulted in entering a voting booth.

Alas, I no longer drive, but the Board of Elections provides great summaries of candidates’ positions and pros and cons of propositions.

So I can’t go to a polling station.  I can vote online. After doing so, I can remember my friend Percy and toast his memory and deeds with a glass of champagne.

I toast him and the cherished freedom of being able to vote.

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