Our view: Get out and vote

Published 3:38 pm Monday, November 7, 2016

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 70 percent of eligible Americans were registered to vote in the November 2012 election, when President Barack Obama was elected to his second term. Of those registered, only about 56 percent actually voted.

In other words, more than a quarter of Americans weren’t even registered to vote in an election to select the leader of our nation, and of those who were, barely more than half actually voted.

For some unfortunate reason, apathy among voters is widespread.

“My vote doesn’t count.”

“I don’t like either of the candidates.”

“I’m not educated enough about the issues.”

All of these are common excuses from people who choose not to vote. However, none of these are excuse enough not to exercise what is perhaps the most important right awarded to American citizens.

As presidential races tend to do, the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has stolen the spotlight from other campaigns. Maybe you passionately side with one of these candidates. If that’s the case, great. Head to the polls Tuesday and mark their name on your ballot. If you don’t like either of them, don’t forget those down-ballot races that often have more impact on your every day life.

If you don’t like any of the candidates on the ballot, write in the person you think is best suited or most qualified for the office.

Don’t know where you stand on the issues? Maybe you’re not sure which candidate aligns most closely with your beliefs and values. Don’t let that keep you from the polls. Even with the election just a day away, there is still time to find out about candidates on your ballot.

For the presidential race, there are sites where you can answer a series of questions about social, environmental, political and financial issues and discover with candidate you match with most closely. Check out isidewith.com.

On the state and local level, visit winchestersun.com and find our “Election 2016” coverage, which includes question and answers with candidates for the Winchester Board of Commissioners, 73rd District state representative, District 2 Clark County Board of Education seat, U.S. representative, U.S. senator, 5th District Kentucky Supreme Court justice and family court judge for Clark and Madison counties.

In October, the same candidates (except for U.S. senate candidates Jim Gray and Rand Paul) fielded questions at the Clark County Candidates Forum. The forum can be watched online at clarkcountyforum.com.

Maybe you can even take a second glance at the fliers from candidates that fill your mailbox this time of year. There are radio and TV advertisements, too. Sometimes these ads are all about tearing down the opposing candidates. Other times, they give some insight into what a candidate stands for.

Go to the Kentucky State Board of Election’s website, elect.ky.gov, to view sample ballots and find  your polling place.

We could come up with more reasons you should cast your ballot Tuesday, but the most important reason is the most simple: Vote because you can.