Voting Rights and Democracy

Cast your vote; make a difference

By Hali Bernstein Saylor

For centuries, people in America have fought and died for many principles, and key among them was the right to vote.

Now, as our nation faces a historic election and uncertain future, it is incumbent upon every adult to exercise that right.

There are numerous political offices up for grabs this November, including the nation’s top leadership position: president of the United States. There also are state and district races with seats that are being hotly contested, as well as ballot issues that question your moral beliefs.

Though newspapers often endorse candidates and espouse which position to take on debatable issues, we here at the Boulder City Review believe that each of you are intelligent and thoughtful enough to make your own decisions.

Instead, we will tell you why it is essential for you to head to the polls.

Our nation’s very founding was guided by the conditions that governed the American colonists, who were taxed by the British Parliament without the opportunity to vote or elect their own representatives. Then, when our independence was won, our Constitution guaranteed that our leaders must be elected by the American people.

In fact, the right to vote is the single right most often mentioned in the Constitution, according to the Constitutional Accountability Center. It is mentioned five times and has four amendments to protect and ensure that all people had the right to vote.

Granted, the road to provide an opportunity for all to cast their votes in modern times hasn’t always been smooth. Realistically, it has been downright rocky. It wasn’t until 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed that all men and women age 21 and older, regardless of race, religion or education, had the right to vote. (In 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18.)

Fortunately, this is a right that Americans seem to take seriously. So far, interest in this election has been high. You can’t go anywhere or do anything without seeing or hearing something about the upcoming election.

And with early voting underway, Clark County residents are doing their part. More than 30,000 people have cast their ballots each of first four days they could, according to the Secretary of State’s office. An additional 19,792 Nevadans have voted by mail during the first week of absentee/mailing precinct balloting.

Let your conscious be your guide as you cast your votes. You alone know how each decision you make could affect your life. While it’s certainly true that your single vote could be easily canceled out by that of your neighbor, it also has the power to make a difference.

History has shown several instances were one or two votes were all that separated candidates and issues, including the 1910 contest for a New York congressional district, where Democrat Charles Smith ousted incumbent Republican De Alva Alexander by a vote of 20,685 to 20,684.

Remember, you can vote early from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at City Hall.

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