Our Opinion: It’s up to you to make a difference

Monday, October 17, 2016

With the deadline to register to vote in Indiana passing on Tuesday and the election looming in under four weeks, we would like to remind everybody if you’re registered to vote, it’s your duty to vote on all levels.

This may be a historic election year. With two presidential debates already behind us, record numbers have been watching and paying a lot of attention to what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have to say. This has been due to the overall accessibility for viewing that was previously unavailable in past elections, such as Facebook Live, streaming on Twitter and YouTube Live, as well as standard broadcasts on network and cable television. News publications are also giving play-by-play of what each candidate is saying with fact-checking teams.

Registering to vote for this election has also been easier than ever. In Greene County it was possible to register with the Voter Registration office in three ways: Online, by mail or coming into the office. Online registration was made available on multiple websites. Collaborations were done with media sources like Pandora and Facebook to simply add your information and complete registration in minutes.

Perhaps you don’t want to vote in the national election. That’s your right as well. However, there are plenty of local candidates who need your votes for county-wide positions that will have a direct impact on your lives. Local races include county commissioners and council members, as well as school boards.

According to Greene County Republican Party Chair Paul Clark, voting on the local level allows people to hold their officials accountable.

“I think it’s everybody’s civic responsibility to vote, and this election will affect the next generation, especially with a (U.S.) Supreme Court justice seat open,” Clark said. “If you don’t want to vote in the national election, I respect that. Vote with the level you’re comfortable with. State and local will determine how you’re taxes are spent.”

Greene County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Lehman echoed those thoughts, citing the last 8th District congressional race was settled by a difference of only four votes.

“Your vote does count,” Lehman said. “Voting turnout hasn’t been that great in the past, but it is your right to vote. There are a lot of important seats open with this election, and a lot of information out there to stay informed.”

Clark added there has been a change in legislature within the last year involving voting straight ticket, which will now fill in all candidates except those under “at-large” seats, such as county council and judges. These positions will still need to be manually selected.

With the amount of information readily available with multiple sources of verification, it’s easier than ever to be involved with the election process. No matter which candidates you support, there are plenty of reasons why you should vote.

Your vote is important and will make a difference on some level of government.