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Letters to the editor

By John Watkins
Miller Creek

An Exercise In Citizenship

Elections are won by those who exercise their constitutional right to vote. Those who do not vote, acquiesce, either by ignorance, apathy, or failure in citizenship. Contrary to the opinion of some, all politicians are not "rich," however, campaigning is an exercise requiring time, energy, and money and therefore is generally undertaken by citizens interested in making a difference in their local, state or national well-being. And, because of expenses in advertising, printing signs, radio spots, newspaper ads, and other forms of getting one's name and issues recognized, one either has enough money to fund the campaign or has donors who help with expenses. Many candidates are "common folk" and, yes, some are wealthy, too.

Beginning with the American Revolutionary War, Americans have fought and continue to fight to retain the rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution, including the right to vote for representation in government. Representatives in government, be they City Council, Sheriff, County Commissioner, State Legislator, Congressman or woman, or President, hold their office with "the consent of the governed." Citizenship involves participation. Is that a right, a responsibility, or an obligation? You decide - if it were taken away or you were denied participation in voting, what would you call it. Participation teaches about the essentials of democracy - majority rule, individual rights, and the rule of law. In paraphrase, a comment by Thomas Jefferson: If a people wish to be ignorant and free, they wish for something that never was and never will be.

It is pathetic when fewer than 40 percent of registered voters actually cast a ballot on election day. Because the upcoming election on November 6, 2012, is a presidential election we can expect a larger than average voter turn-out. In fact, some experts in Utah predict that 68% of registered voters will cast a ballot in November. A 68% response is certainly better than anything less, but still falls short of a responsible citizenry expressing itself fully. I'm always surprised when helping a candidate for office canvas house-to-house when I find folks who are not registered and who will not register to vote - for whatever reason.

In the upcoming election cycle, voters in Carbon County will cast a vote for President, Congressman, State Senator, State Representative, and County Commissioner. Winners in these races will be decided by those who cast a vote. In Richard Shaw's staff column on Tuesday September 18, 2012, Richard would have us believe that the elections will be won by "those who don't care at all." Sorry, Rich, I strongly disagree. Those who don't care and do not vote lose their voice. They neither create nor sustain the winners in an election; it is the voice of votes that carries winners to a position of representation. There are those who contend that their vote does not count anyhow; tell that to those candidates who lost an election by a mere handful of votes. A tight race, i.e., one whose result is by a very narrow margin occurs more often than we might think. There are those who do not vote because they "don't get involved in politics." Guess what, folks, everything is politics, from the tax you pay at the store or the gas pump, to the water you drink at the tap - persons elected to make decisions for the community or the state are in a "political" position.

The answer to the question, then, might be: voting is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments; voting is a responsibility, especially if you hope to help shape the future for you and your children; voting is an obligation thrust upon you as a citizen of Price, Carbon County, the State of Utah, and the U.S.A. Whether you see your vote as for the greater of two heroes or the lesser of two evils, your vote counts - and that's what counts.

In my opinion.

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