MILLEDGEVILLE — Tuesday is Election Day. An early primary date and no local races on the ballot make this Election Day less than desirable for many Georgia voters. But with key state primary races on the ballot, there’s certainly no excuse to stay home for those who haven’t already vote via absentee or in advance.
Tuesday’s turnout will determine how the ballot lines up in November — who Georgia’s leader will be in the governor’s office, in Washington, D.C., and who will be at the helm on education issues in our state. That’s a ballot of heavy importance, and one that should make all local voters take notice.
We’ve written countless times on our editorial pages about the importance of voting, but truth is, the weight of the issues before us should be enough for any Georgia to want to show up and be counted at the polls. Sadly, it very rarely is enough.
More often than not we don’t turn out in large numbers, we stay at home. Yet, we complain about the state of our schools, our state government and the state of affairs in Washington. From the comfort of our homes we voice our opinions about political corruption, partisan bickering and scare accomplishments, yet we squander the very power we possess to bring forth change. That power is at the ballot box, and the ballot box is our voice. We can’t remain silent on Election Day and expect anything to change. It won’t.
People in other parts of the globe often take a tremendous risk just for the opportunity to vote, even in today’s society. Their lives, their jobs and their families cloaked in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, all in the hope it spurs a new way of thinking and a new opportunity for them and their communities. While others before us have done the same here in America and in Georgia, we too often show an unwillingness to risk little more than a few minutes of our time to cast a ballot. Our expectations of our political leaders mustn’t become so lofty that they outweigh our personal obligation to democracy and to the citizenry. We can’t expect more from them as politicians if we are willing to give so little as their electorate.
No shows on Election Day equate to powerlessness at the polls. We can’t remain silent and we must raise the bar. It starts with us.