The Union Recorder

Opinion

October 3, 2012

Register, learn, vote

MILLEDGEVILLE — Of Baldwin County’s more than 21,000 registered voters, just 30 percent cast ballots in the July primary races, and the deadline to register to vote in next month’s general election is next week.

As voters prepare for the general election, Baldwin County citizens must turn their focus to combating the apathy and disinterest that often creeps in during long, winding election cycles, such as the one we’ve seen play out over the past several months.

The striking economic and political news that deluges local citizens each day should have emboldened us to wage a fight on multiple fronts against the apathetic spirit that affects us.

Sadly it seems, based on voter turnout at least, we have not.

Simply becoming registered is a first step, not a final action. Getting to the polls and making the citizens’ voice count is.

Those who are already registered and plan to vote can contribute by getting others involved. Talk to neighbors and friends; if they aren’t already registered, remind them of Tuesday’s deadline and encourage them to make an effort to get to the polls this November. We must remember that an inactive and uninformed voting public will not get the job done. Active and engaged citizens can.

According to Baldwin County Chief Deputy Registrar Liz Rodgers, the number of registered voters in Baldwin County is presently about the same as it was in 2008, even though more citizens have become eligible in the years since the last presidential election.

Those who are eligible yet not registered have until Tuesday to register in order to vote next month. Those who are registered should be mindful of important upcoming dates for early voting and Saturday voting, but the most important thing to remember is to vote.

Statewide, the early voting period begins Oct. 15 and will continue through Nov. 2. Voters can cast their ballots at the Baldwin County Courthouse in room 104 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the early voting period.

Saturday voting will also be available, Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Be prepared with the right documentation to ensure that the process goes smoothly. Voters will need to bring a valid form of identification, which may include a Georgia driver’s license, a valid voter identification card, a valid United States passport, a government-issued employee identification card, a United States military identification card or a valid tribal identification card. All forms of identification must include a photograph of the voter.

To register to vote 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, not be serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude, and have not been found mentally incompetent by a judge.

Sample ballots, voter registration status, a poll locator and other voting information can be obtained through the secretary of state’s website at http://mvp.sos.state.ga.us/

This we all know for sure: There will be a new state senator representing the Baldwin County district come January, and possibly new faces in the state house of representatives and in two county commission districts. Districts and party lines aside, all of Baldwin County has a stake in the outcome. Why would anyone squander the opportunity to claim a stake and have a say by staying at home?

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