The Union Recorder

February 5, 2014

Register, vote, exercise your democratic right


The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Last November city electors cast ballots for municipal races. Sadly this election mirrored the turnout of a number of elections in recent history with just a slim number of voters deciding the outcome for the entire community.

Less than a quarter of the city’s eligible voters cast ballots in last fall’s election, with the others deciding for whatever reason to miss out on a valuable opportunity.

It’s an opportunity others around the globe are still fighting for. It’s an opportunity that in the broader perspective requires very little time and sacrifice, though so many who walked before us gave so much to afford to us.

The majority of eligible voters let a handful of their fellow citizens decide for them, and their voices were weakened. Then there are others among the remaining population who have yet to take the necessary steps to get themselves eligible in the first place.

Fortunately for all of us they don’t have to miss out on this opportunity again — but they must take responsibility and seize the opportunity by registering the vote — then going out and casting a ballot.

This year in Georgia citizens must act promptly. With Georgia’s unprecedented election schedule and May 20 primary for U.S. Senate and Congressional races, citizens who are not registered have a shorter window before the May 20 primary date.

Even still, why would any eligible voter not wish to have a say in which way the pendulum swings for Milledgeville’s future?

The deadline to register and be eligible to vote in the upcoming primary and nonpartisan election is Monday, April 21. Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 20.

There are multiple ways to register and many more reasons why we all should. To register in Georgia, an individual must be a citizen of the United States, be a legal resident of the county, be at least 17 and 1/2 years of age, among other requirements.

Remember that registering is an important first step but it is far from the last. Becoming knowledgeable of the issues and concerns facing this community, then getting to the polls are equally vital next steps.

You can also download and complete a voter registration application from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, www.sos/ga.gov, and mail it in. Or, you can visit the county board of registrar’s office located in the Baldwin County Courthouse, Department of Motor Vehicle Safety office, or the local library to register. College students can also get applications from their campus registrar’s office.

Staying at home did nothing to prevent the election from happening, but it does slowly chip away at the voice of the electorate. We mustn’t forget that when there is silence at the polls, there is no conversation, no opposition to the existing way of doing things. If we continue to do things the way always have, we can expect no more than the same results we are used to getting.

The first step is getting registered. Don’t let a handful of local voters tip the scales one way or another in any election.