Please, vote; it’s our civic privilege

Folks, as Tuesday draws near, Virginians should be preparing to exercise their right to vote; it’s a privilege we in Virginia enjoy every year.

This year, we have what is called an “off-year” election, but that shouldn’t cause you to dismiss it as unimportant. This November’s election focuses on local candidates for office such as your representative in the General Assembly, local school boards and county sheriffs.

Think these offices and the folks you elect will have no impact on your lives? I’ve got news for you — they do — big time!

Your county sheriffs shape the structure and set priorities for their police forces, determining how the department staff interacts with their community. School board members set policies that impact your children and influence their learning environment. Your Assembly representative is a member of a legislative body that enacts laws, sets budget priorities, initiates policy directives; and this year’s outcome will determine how future elections will be conducted.

Historically, off-year elections suffer from abysmally low voter turnout — the thinking being that “off-year equals inconsequential.” Wrong thinking!

I started this letter by stating that our right to vote is a privilege, because that’s exactly what it is. I’ll take that a step further and assert that it’s an obligation — a responsibility we have as citizens of our commonwealth not only to get out and vote on Nov. 5, but to learn about the candidates for whom you will cast your vote. And when you do vote, don’t just pull the red or blue lever; educate yourself on the issues — understand the candidates’ positions, because they’re not all the same, not by a long shot!

Become an informed citizen. Vote and vote wisely; your choices do make a difference. And, as recently demonstrated right here in Virginia’s 94th House District race in 2017, one vote does count.

ERIC WIBBENS

Goode

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