It can’t be said often enough: Many people died for the right to vote – a right we now take for granted. In the 2008 presidential election, approximately 60 percent of those eligible to cast a ballot did. And presidential elections boast larger turnout than other elections.
Turnout for local elections can be as low as 25 percent.
That’s somewhat shameful for the amount of blood spilled to take this country to near universal suffrage for almost everyone over the age of 18.
In America’s infancy, the franchise was restricted to white, male property owners. Political battles between the 1820s and 1840s eliminated the property ownership requirement. Decades later, following a bloody Civil War, former black slaves were enfranchised.
Later, women were granted the right to vote and the walls erected to keep blacks out of the voting booth fell. In the 1960s, the voting age was lowered to 18 due in part, to the number of 18 year-olds dying in Vietnam. The steps to full enfranchisement were steep and often riddled with civil upheaval and occasionally blood.
It’s important to be informed on the issues and candidates. Local leaders make decisions that affect the quality of life for residents in the jurisdictions. Participating in local elections gives residents a voice on the direction they want their communities to go.
This November, Kansans will head to the polls to vote. Every registered voter should flock to the polls. When they arrive in polling booths, they should know the issues and the candidates on the ballot.
Voting is not a sporting event. It’s not our team vs. their team. It’s important to be informed regarding individual candidates.
Please become informed and go to the polls and vote.