WHY WE SHOULD VOTE? Tuesday, May 24th, is the day that Georgian’s have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote for their candidates in a primary election. Republicans will choose their candidate. Democrats will choose theirs. The general election takes place in the Fall. But, in many areas, like heavily Republican districts, the primary decides the overall winner. In west Georgia, we have some important races that directly affect our community. To name just a few, there are contested elections for the office of county commission, sheriff, coroner, the 3rd Georgia Congressional District, State House 68, and others. State House 68, which primarily consists of Carroll and Douglas counties, recently opened up after Gov. Deal appointed Rep. Dusty Hightower as a superior court judge. This will be a very short campaign. On a sad note, in many places across the nation, the voter turnout is miserable. There are many reasons for this; though not any good ones. One issue this year seems to be that the general public has varying levels of concerns about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Some of these concerns are grave. This presidential election will not only determine who will be the next president, but will impact federal elections in the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in the short run. This election cycle, coupled with sudden shifts in culture, may change the face of elections for many years to come. Regardless of what we believe about the candidates, we should still vote. Even if we have to choose to vote for the “lesser of two evils”, we should. By staying home, we are giving a vote to the lesser of the candidates in our eyes. Besides, the May 24th date will not even have the presidential candidates on the ballot. The Georgia primary took place earlier this year. Enough of focusing on why someone should not vote, let’s look at the excellent reasons why we should: 1. Strong voter turnout is the only way for the people to have a say in who represents them. With strong voter turnout, elected officials are held accountable for their decisions that affect the people. Along the way, challengers come along to test the strength of the incumbent; 2. Voting is exercising a “natural right” given to us by God. Thankfully, we can exercise this right in America; 3.Voting is a way of honoring our Founding Fathers, many who died in order for this right to become human law. Over 60,000 people died or were wounded in the American Revolution, the start of what has been the great experiment of this constitutional republic. Voting also honors almost 3,000,000 U.S. citizens who gave their lives or were wounded to protect the constitution that protects our right to self-determination in our communities, states, and nation. Most of us have ancestors who served, died, or were wounded wearing the uniform. 4. Voting provides a good example to children and teenagers. When they see mommy and/or daddy voting, they are likely to do the same in the future; 5. The culture of this nation is reflected by the ballot box. If you really want to see where America is headed, good or bad in your view, take a look at the results of elections. 6. Hopefully, voters have researched the candidates before deciding who to support. An informed voter can make an informed vote that truly reflects the collective views of this nation. Because we have researched our candidates, we can make an informed vote. 8. It’s sad to say, but as I mentioned above, sometimes we must vote for the lesser of two evils. You may not like either candidate. But one will do less harm to our city, county, state, or country than the other. 9. It’s tough to complain about how our government is being managed when we know we did not even vote in the last election; and 10. Lastly, there is something about voting that lifts the spirit. When I leave the voting booth, I always put the “I voted” sticker on my shirt. It’s just fun. Consider researching the candidates and lets all get to the voting booth on May 24. Voting is not just a right; it is our duty.