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Voting is both a privilege and a duty
June 14, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
If you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain, or so I've always thought.
I have cast my vote in every city, state and federal election since I was 18. Much of the time, I knew that my vote was unlikely to make much of a difference. That was certainly the case back in 2004, when I voted against the constitutional ban on gay marriage that over 75 percent of the people in North Dakota said yes to. Actually, I was surprised that 25 percent of the state voted against that amendment. I thought the "yes" vote was more likely to be in the 80 percent range. I have voted for both winning and for losing candidates, knowing full well that one more vote wouldn't decide the election. I have gone to the polls when it was raining and when I had far better things to do.
Voting is not a right I take for granted. One hundred years ago a woman in this state could not have cast her vote. There were women who marched and, in some cases, endured prison and force feeding to earn me the right to fill out a ballot. Some of my ancestors were undoubtedly denied the right to vote in other countries because they didn't own property or didn't belong to the right social class.
When I cast my vote, I also make a habit of learning something about the candidates and the issues I am being asked to express an opinion about. I read newspapers or attend public forums or talk to people about the issues. The vote I cast should be an educated vote.
Those are among the reasons I am puzzled why there was such a low voter turnout in the state last Tuesday. Why do you suppose people do not bother to vote?
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