In the next two months, we will all be deluged by political messages – for the presidential race, Congress and some local town races. If you begin to feel inundated by politics, just take it as a sign of how important your vote is.
It’s a cliché, but your vote is important … it remains your civic duty to learn about the candidates and the issues and make your voice heard on Election Day.
During the weeks before the election, we will be bringing you a series of articles designed to help provide your with information on the different candidates. Remember, this election is not just about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It’s also about our representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives. For some of us, it’s also about our mayor or town councilors.
Take the time to learn about all of these races. We’ll help by providing you some of the information.
And for those who’ve made up your mind regarding which candidates your support, take the time to research both sides. Visit their website and look through their position on the issues. Chances are, you’ll reinforce your opinion, but there’s also a chance that you’ll learn more and allow yourself the opportunity for a well-informed switch.
But the first priority is to ensure that you’re registered to vote – and make time to go to the polls on Election Day.
At the library
One thing that voters will not have access to this year is private voter registration drives at Loudoun’s public libraries.
Having received complaints, the County Administrator’s Office has decided to decline requests to allow voter registration drives at county libraries.
There have been two reasons articulated for the decision. First, there is the desire to keep the libraries nonpartisan, which is an admirable goal. However, there have not been any articulated instances where the varying civic or political organizations that work to register voters have crossed the line into harassment. This would appear to be a scenario best avoided by setting guidelines for those seeking to run a voter registration drive.
A second response, provided to the LTM by the office, has to do with oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice. The county has already been pre-cleared for its voter drives. Additionally, voter registration includes the collection of sensitive information that could be misused.
These reasons are all well and good – and kudos to the county for taking this step of receiving pre-approval for their own drives. However, voter registration is occurring throughout the country. You’ll see different organizations (Republican, Democrat and nonpartisan) outside stores and moving through neighborhoods.
If the danger of voter information being mismanaged or thrown out by the DOJ was so high, then we’d have seen more of instances of it by now.
And by declining assistance and the use of public property for voter registration – arguably one of the most important functions of government – the county runs the risk of finding itself made irrelevant and appearing as if it doesn’t want to see voters on Election Day.
As the campaign moves forward, we’re likely to hear accusations of voter fraud and there have already been arguments and legislation about eliminating it. It involves what identification you can use to prove your identity, how absentee and military ballots should be handled and accusations of fictitious and dead people being registered to vote.
Please keep in mind that while actual voter fraud is indefensible, actual instances of voter fraud appear to be small enough that it could impact a vote only by the thinnest of margins.
Laws to minimize voter fraud should be welcomed so long as they do not limit the ability of rightful voters to utilize their right to vote.