As I See It
Friday, March 4, 2010

The importance of voting on Tuesday
Wondering why you should bother?  Read on.

"One man, one vote." A premise that should remind us all to go out and vote.  This idea stems from a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1964 in the case of Reynolds v. Sims.

In this case, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, speaking for the majority of 8 justices said "Legislators represent people, not trees or acres.  Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests."  This case was about state laws regarding how citizens vote and how they are represented.  Before Reynolds, disparities existed between state senates far greater than disparities in the U.S. Senate.  Urban counties were often drastically underrepresented. 

Voting rights in America have come a long way.  In 1870, the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution gave voting rights to all male citizens, regardless of race.  In 1918, women were given the right to vote, and Native Americans were given the right in 1924.  One of the most important rights in voting came on July 1, 1971 when President Richard M. Nixon signed the final ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, which lowered the voting age nationwide from 21 to 18.  This no doubt put a huge number of new voters into the system. 

Voting is one of the most important rights and duty you have as an American citizen.  I find no greater satisfaction than going into the voting booth and exercising my right to choose my representative government.  Much of the world does not share our right and privilege.  They live under oppressive governments who choose their leaders, and laws, and their own whim, often for their own personal benefit.  Since our separation from Great Britain, we have had to fight for our way of life.  Hundreds of thousand of your fellow American citizens serving in the Armed Forces have given their lives to preserve our freedom.

Voter turnout in Goffstown is usually very low.  Some residents choose not to vote because they don't like any of the candidates, others forget, and still some residents because they are not even registered.  

I believe it is our duty to register and cast our votes.  Our democracy, and YOUR voice depends, on it.  Voting is the single most effective way to make your voice heard.  If you don’t agree with our elected officials' values, ideas, or performances, you can make your voice know in the voting booth and vote them out!  

But before you step into that voting booth, might I suggest your do a little homework first.  Take a little time to research the candidates you are voting on, check the voting records of incumbents, how they and all candidates stand on issues that are important to you, and consider what their plans are for the future.  

Because the result of Tuesday's Town Vote will DEFINITELY affect you.

This year,
there is an open seat on the Board of Selectmen, five on the Budget Committee and three on the school board.  These three entities are the primary entities that formulate our property tax rates.

On the Board of Selectmen, one incumbent is running against a single challenger.  Over on the school board, there are three incumbents running against three new challengers (John Dillon, the fourth challenger, has withdrawn his candidacy).

Only one candidate for Budget Committee is an incumbent, so change on that committee is inevitable.

But if you want change on the Board of Selectmen and the school board, you must get out and vote.  And don't think for one minute that your vote doesn't count.  We all saw last year how a single, torn ballot ended up costing us all over $486,000.

It is your right to vote, as well as your duty.  Please take the time on March 8th to exercise that right.

Guy Caron can be reached via e-mail at:

Past Columns by Guy Caron  >>>


DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed by Mr. Caron are not necessarily those of the Goffstown Residents Association or its members.

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