Top 10 reasons to vote:
By Jack Levine
• To honor those in our military who courageously fight for us and our law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency workers who respond to our needs and defend the peace at home. Those who sacrifice their personal well-being in the name of our safety and security deserve our respect.
• To honor people who struggled for civil rights, women’s suffrage, disability and equal rights and the ideals of justice for all whose diverse voices are essential for our nation’s moral health and community vitality. Freedom needs affirmation.
• To be a good example to our children and grandchildren by exercising the right to vote as a symbol of our faith in democracy. By voting we send a signal of the importance of the choices we as adults make to secure a better future for ourselves, for our children, and generations who will follow.
• Voting is our society’s great equalizer. No matter our station in life, income, ethnic heritage or social status, every citizen over age 18 has the same power of one vote.
• Pollsters do not determine who wins elections; voters do. Predicting the outcome of elections, especially close ones, is at best an inexact science. Pollsters and political pundits have their roles, but like each of us, they only have one vote.
• Elections should not be about negative ads, it should be about the options we have to promote positive policy actions. Voting for candidates in whom we believe, and for or against ballot initiatives we know will affect our future, is a perfect counterbalance to the flood of negativity polluting the airwaves and filling our mailboxes.
• While voting may now be a bit more complicated than in previous years, access to registration information and early voting are still available for people who want their voices heard. Democracy is a team sport — and spectators simply don’t count.
• It’s vital to be an informed voter. Pay attention to news reports and editorials about the campaigns. While how we vote is confidential, the fact that we have voted, or failed to vote, is public record. Elected officials know which individuals and demographic groups are voting, and we who do vote are more likely to be influential in policy debates. Non-voters are voiceless and by not participating can become victims of their own neglect.
• Regret is preventable. Nov. 9 is one day too late, and “could have, should have” are sorry alternatives to acting. Have a “no excuses” attitude by committing to vote, ask others to join us in voting, and promote a positive approach to making a difference among family, friends and colleagues.
• Be part of making history. Because every indicator points to the prospect that the 2016 election will have impact for years/decades to come, every vote is even more important. As a Floridian, I know how close elections can be! Being a participant in affecting history gives each of us a sense of pride in participation and the power to touch the future.
— Jack Levine, founder of the 4Generations Institute, is a Tallahassee-based family policy advocate and Director of GRANDPartners for GRANDparents with GRAND Media.