Voting is essential

Voting is essential

 

Absentee ballots are now available, and voting has begun. There seems to be much enthusiasm and strong feelings in this election, yet it remains to be seen whether that will truly translate into greater voter participation.

Millions upon millions of people around the world are willing to put their lives on the line for the right to vote, yet so many of our fellow citizens seem to take this right for granted.

Many of us are quick to criticize those in office and to rail against policies or practices we donít like. But many of those who complain the loudest did not make the effort to inform themselves about the candidatesí views and issues prior to casting their ballots. Or worse, they didnít vote at all.

We work so hard to instill civic literacy in our children, impressing them with the beauty and elegance of the democratic system of government, along with their responsibilities as citizens living in that system. We should all be good role models for them as well.

 

The candidates running for office this year at all levels differ substantially according to policies, philosophies and values. It is very important to make sure the candidates you honor with your vote reflect your own priorities and will conduct themselves in office accordingly. When possible, listen to what they are saying today, but also see what their voting records show about their past actions.

As always, it seems, California has a variety of propositions on the ballot this November. I hope everyone will inform themselves about the issues at stake.

As we cast our votes for candidates and initiatives either on Nov. 4 or by absentee ballot between now and then, we will be shaping priorities for this decade and beyond. Our economic health and competitiveness, crime rates, strong families and a healthy democracy depend upon giving young people the right start in life; yet our children remain among the most neglected segments of our society. They are the poorest citizens in our state. Though our schools are making great strides by setting high standards and raising test scores, we still need community support in order to improve. Voters know that our children and our schools need their support. Children canít vote, but adults can. Candidates have track records and policy statements regarding education, students and families; be sure to know where they stand.

 

I urge everyone to vote on Nov. 4, or by absentee ballot before then. Regardless of your position on the initiatives and the individuals running at all levels of government, please give voice to your views and make an informed decision. In a democracy, itís essential that we all take part in the process. Itís what makes the system work.