Election Day

I strongly encourage everyone who is eligible and registered to vote to DO SO TODAY! It is Election Day, and across the country millions are casting a vote and making their desires plain to the elected bodies of government: national, statewide, and local.

If you don’t know where to vote in your neighborhood, visit Vote411.org to find your local polling place.

If you aren’t sure who to vote for — either you haven’t been paying close attention to the races, you’re overwhelmed by all the (negative) political ads on television, or you’re just still undecided — visit VoteSmart.org. You can investigate the candidates who are on the ballot in your ZIP code, and evaluate them against a simple set of issues questions. Even if this doesn’t tell you WHO to vote for, it can help narrow the field and put a looking-glass to the candidates. It’s just one way of evaluating the candidates. I used it to see if the person I was planning to vote for was the best candidate to represent me. There’s a better candidate, but in a minority party, and I feel like my vote is better served going to a majority party than split among a minority party, and the guy I REALLY didn’t want to win, wins.

If you are registered with one party, either the Rs or the Ds, don’t feel obliged to “vote the party line” today. Vote your conscience and split your ticket across the parties if you feel like someone from the opposite party is truly the best candidate to represent you. In these hard economic times, economic issues are front and center, and despite liberal social leanings, you may feel that a conservative economic policy is the better issue to vote on.

For what it’s worth, I plan to split my ticket today.

Voter fraud and election fraud may be rare, but can be a big problem on Election Day. If you feel like voter registration or election fraud is being committed at your local polling place, contact your state election official’s office. You can find your local office at USA.gov. What is election fraud? According to USA.gov, voter fraud is “when legally qualified voters vote more than once during an election, when people who are not qualified to vote do vote, when a voter’s right to vote is illegally interfered with, and when a vote is changed without the knowledge of the person who cast the ballot. It is also against the law for poll workers in polling stations to interfere with a person’s legal right to vote or influence how someone votes (tell someone how to vote).” The emphasis is mine.

No one can tell you how to vote. Your vote is your voice and your sovereign right as a U.S. citizen.

All that said, get out there and vote. I don’t care who you vote for, as long as you vote what you think is best. Take your kids, your spouse, your parents or grandparents, your neighbor, or your best friend — teach your kids about the responsibility of American adults to vote, and be a good example to your friends and family.

If you aren’t registered to vote in this election, please contact your election office or visit your city or town hall to get registered for the next election. If there is one great thing about this country, it is that there is always going to be another election.

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