Next Tuesday, Nov. 6, is Election Day. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You must be registered to vote in advance, but despite all the confusion and controversy, you will NOT be required to show a photo ID in order to cast your vote.
If you believe you are in some way being denied your right to vote, you should request a provisional ballot that will be provided you clear up whatever technicality existed.
I will be on the ballot, seeking my fourth two-year term as your state representative. You will actually see me listed as both the Democrat and Republican nominee because I won the Republican nomination as a write-in candidate back in the April primary. As a result, I am unopposed in this year’s election.
Even though it would be mathematically impossible to screw this up, I am still asking you for your vote because I never want to take it for granted. To me, your vote is the most sacred trust you can place in someone. To those of you who have supported me in the past, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and for those of you who haven’t supported me yet, I won’t stop working hard to earn your respect, even if I don’t get your vote.
As much as I enjoy the vigor and energy of the campaign trail, the opportunity to focus primarily on doing my job as your representative was something I relished. Our region is facing historic and unique challenges and opportunities, and I can tell you that with the exception of the few days I took to marry my beautiful new bride, I was hard at work every day for the people I represent.
The combination of truly enjoying what I do and understanding how much the people of my district need a clear, no-nonsense and honest voice, particularly now, keep the fire in my belly burning stronger than the day I first took my oath of office.
Of course, there are other very important races on the ballot this year, from the presidential race on down. Many people have commented about how the negative ads are discouraging them from voting this year; this is the wrong approach because by not exercising your constitutional right to vote, you are losing your voice in our democracy.
Sometimes a negative ad on behalf of a candidate can be enough of a reason to vote for the intended target; there’s nothing wrong with such an approach. Punishing negative ads might be the only way to ultimately get them off the airwaves and out of our mailboxes.
In regard to the national races, I’m going to give a piece of advice I rarely offer when it comes to elections. This year, if you are really and truly undecided, consider becoming a one-issue voter. It’s simple; pick the one single issue you believe will have the biggest impact on your life, such as Social Security, Medicare, education, or the environment—and use objective sources to research the candidates’ positions on that issue.
Senior citizens can get information from groups like AARP, and there are great non-partisan sites out there such as VoteSmart.org where you can research candidates and even take an interactive quiz to see which candidates fit your beliefs.
Once you have decided on which issue matters most to you and which candidate will be best for you on that issue, just ignore everything else and vote for that candidate. It’s the easiest way to ensure you are comfortable with your choice and aren’t being confused by misleading ads.
But whatever you do, please vote. Decisions are made by those who show up, and you owe it to yourself to be part of the decision-making process. Your participation in the electoral process is more than a privilege, or even a civic duty—it’s the only guaranteed way of making your voice heard in your government, which is a sacred honor for all Americans that should never be ignored.