Voting, a privilege and a duty



A s this is published we are beginning early voting in Texas for the November 6 General Election. I expect I’ll have already voted by this time. Many of us will take advantage of early voting and many others will wait until election day to cast their ballots.

I’ve been interested in elections ever since I first began to understand what they were all about. I was born shortly after Franklin Roosevelt began his third term, in early 1941. The first president I remember is Harry Truman. Truman, who had been a Senator and later was elected vice president in 1944, succeeded Roosevelt after he died.

By 1952, when General Dwight Eisenhower was elected president, I had become more aware of the presidency and how it worked, but I also became aware of other officials, especially congressmen and senators, and local officials. I didn’t get to vote for the first time until 1962, since we then had to be 21 to vote. It was a mid-term election in New Mexico and I really don’t remember who I voted for—just that I voted. The first Presidential Election I voted in was 1964. Our choices were Lyndon Johnson versus Barry Goldwater.

I have voted in every Presidential Election since then–a total of nine presidents and 13 elections. About half the time the candidate I voted for in the Presidential Election won.

In my view, if we are eligible to vote, we should. It’s a privilege, but also a duty. We should educate ourselves on issues and go to the polls informed. Our member of the House of Representatives is the closest federal elected official to us and we should know as much as we can about that candidate, but state officials are equally important, since they are even closer. Local elections are also important, at the county, city and school board level. And most ballots include other issues, state constitution amendments and other laws.

Believe it or not, our votes matter, especially in a close local election when as few as one vote can make the difference. I hope everyone who can vote will, in person or by mail. In my many votes, I have influenced history and been part of it. And if you have voted, so have you.

See you at the polls and in the history pages!

WARREN DOMKE is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express.

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