October 11, 2005 > Editorial: The fall classic
Editorial: The fall classic
This one has nothing to do with sports although many analogies can be drawn. Along with shortening days and colder nights, comes the political season of promising, posturing and protesting. Since this year is not a presidential election year, October and November will be a bit quieter, but along with Halloween preparations and planning for Thanksgiving, comes election time. Believe it or not, October 10th was the first day to apply for an absentee ballot; voter pamphlets and sample ballots are being mailed from state and county offices this week and October 24th is the last day to register for the November 8, 2005 election. With all the attention paid to elections in other parts of the world and the importance placed on broad participation, it is crucial for all citizens to take our freedom and ability to vote seriously, even when the issues can be counted using the fingers of your hands.
Elections are held to elect representatives and decide issues that have been drafted for direct approval by citizens. It may be thought of as trite, but the fact remains that votes do count; recent elections have been testaments to the veracity of the statement. In our local area, even though the issues may be few in number, the impact of propositions can be a major factor in the future. Just look at Measure T and the furor it raised after being approved by voters almost three years ago. This year, California voters are being asked to vote on eight different propositions. Newark voters are being asked to elect two of three candidates for council seats and affirm their confidence in Mayor Dave Smith who is running unopposed. Hayward Unified School District voters will select 2 of 4 candidates running for the Board of Education. For most of us, however, the ballot will be even shorter, simply listing the state propositions. There may be few choices, but they are still important to consider and vote upon.
The Tri-City Voice will begin interviews with candidates and explanations of the ballot measures in the next issue. However, for those who would like to get a quicker look at the candidates and measures, the League of Women Voters usually does an excellent job of presenting the candidates and issues at www.smartvoter.org.
Taking the effort to understand the ballot choices and the time to vote is a measure of a citizen's character. It is a gauge of our political resolve to remain a society where all eligible voters can go to the polls without fear of censure, reprisal or fatal consequences. Considering the moral and physical fortitude it takes for people to vote in other parts of the world, attendance at the polls is a critical statement by Americans about the liberties and values of discussion we hold as individual "rights." This year, make a pledge to visit the polls on November 8th and make your voice heard.