Do you realize that Tuesday, November 4 is Election Day? If not, then you’re what is known as a “low-propensity voter.” I heard this term the other day emanating from the television. I’m not sure who said it, but I suppose that person means that you’re somewhat aware of current events, but you’re not aware enough to know about the upcoming Election Day. No one is insulting the low-propensity voters’ intelligence. Hey, we all get busy and forget important dates and events. Many of us forget certain things we learned in school. The thing to remember is that voting is important and all of us need to exercise that right.
“Well, we’re not voting for president, so why vote?” a low-propensity voter might say.
Indeed that low-propensity voter is correct about November 4 being a non-presidential election, but it ends there. The upcoming elections impact the average citizen this upcoming year -- more so than voting for a president. Your county commissioner, state senator, state representative or congressperson are just a few of the seats that are most likely up for grabs in your neck of the woods. The folks who get elected or re-elected to these offices make decisions in their jobs that provide you with tremendous impact.
Traffic flow, development and transportation projects are just some of the key issues that your county commissioner may deal with in his or her position. Those issues and even larger ones including education and health care are handled on the state and federal levels. So, voting for your state representative, state senator and congressperson is important to your daily life.
Recently, leaders in our area held a candidate forum to present a few of the good folks running for office. It’s always a great idea to attend these forums to make an informed decision on Election Day. At this particular forum, all candidates were impressive with their presentations along with good question and answer sessions. You may view the first part of this forum here: http://youtu.be/qPJ-Sn5Pr5s and subsequent portions of that night’s forum will follow on this YouTube channel.
Now, here’s something old to the “policy nerds,” although this and much of the aforementioned information is basic. November 4's elections are referred to as the Mid-term Elections due to the fact that this year marks the halfway point in this current president’s term. Every U.S. House seat is up for grabs while certain U.S. Senate seats are being contested. The outcome from those races will impact how the president will work with Congress in his last two years in office. While the U.S. House of Representatives remains in the Republican majority, the U.S. Senate’s balance of power is far closer. A few seats either way, could tip the majority power to either mainstream political party.
Here in the state of Georgia, we have a governor’s race and a U.S. Senate race. Those races are getting a lot of attention on television, radio and in print. Lesser-known offices such as Lieutenant Governor, State Attorney General, State School Superintendent, State Insurance Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner and Public Service Commissioner will appear on November 4's ballot. Again, those are all important offices which have an impact on the average citizen’s quality of life.
As we draw close to Election Day, you may participate in early voting or by mailing in an absentee ballot. Early voting is available in certain locations depending where you live. In many of our cases, you may request a ballot from your county’s registrar. That information may be found on your county’s website. Mailing in an absentee ballot takes some time. With most of us, your county registrar will mail you the ballot in which you fill it out and home and mail back. In my area that process can take about three days from the time an e-mail request is made. Thus, if you’re mailing in an absentee ballot at this point, then do so quickly so that it will get to the registrar’s office before Election Day. Many folks don’t trust this process, but for the most part, it works. When casting an absentee ballot, carefully follow all instructions. When you go to mail it back, make sure that there’s enough postage on the envelope. This year, it should be around .90, but still, go to the nearest post office to get the ballot weighed.
Indeed, “low-propensity voter,” we are not electing or re-electing a new president this year. Rather, we are going to the polls on November 4th to vote for those who will impact us the most.