Why registering to vote is important

Published 12:47 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tennessee and the Carter County Election Commission are making a push for voter registration for this year’s upcoming election. If you aren’t registered, you can’t vote.
For the first time, Tennessee has a new online voter registration system, which allows residents to fill out new voter registrations or to update their current registration due to a name or address change. In addition to the online registration, residents can still register to vote in person at the Election Commission Office or by mailing in a registration form. Persons can also register to vote at the local Tennessee Driver’s License Office, the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, the Carter County Court Clerk’s office and the Carter County Circuit Court Clerk’s office.
This year, there are three very important elections — the upcoming Carter County Democrat and Republican primary, May 1; the county general election and Federal and state primaries, Aug. 2; and Federal and state general election, Nov. 6.
To be eligible to vote in Tennessee, you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older before the date of the election, a resident of Tennessee, and not disqualified under the law. Deadline for registering to vote in the May 1 primary is April 2.
Voting is a duty of all citizens. Your country needs you to do it. The more of us who vote, the stronger our decisions as a people.
It’s also a privilege to vote in a free, fair, and honest election. Much of the world does not have that.
Do you want to have a say who will represent you on county commission, or as sheriff, road superintendent, or county mayor? These choices are on the May 1 primary ballot.
In good conscience, can you duck out of helping choose who represents us in the U.S. House of Representatives, the state house, or the office of governor? The election isn’t until November, but if you want to help to choose each party’s candidates in the primaries, then you must register to vote in the August election.
People love to hate politicians, but that rings kind of hollow when half of eligible voters don’t vote. Americans like to consider the United States the birthplace of the modern democracy, but even in presidential election years when voter turnout is highest, Census Bureau data show that about 70 percent of eligible American voters are registered and only about 60 percent of them actually cast ballots.
In midterm congressional elections, such as the one coming up in August and November, the registration rate drops to about 65 percent and the voting percentage to 45.
Contrast that with Scotland, where in a 2014 referendum on whether to secede from the United Kingdom, 97 percent of eligible voters were registered and about 85 percent actually voted.
If you’re unsure about voting this time around, please make sure you get registered anyway. Otherwise you take away your options. You can always pass later, but if you later decide you want to vote, you won’t be able to if you aren’t registered.

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