Be sure and vote Thursday — your vote matters

Published 2:10 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Election Day is Thursday in Carter County and across the state of Tennessee.
By now you’ve likely seen the signs, mainly on E. Elk Avenue near the Courthouse and on Holston Avenue near the Carter County Election Office. In some ways, it’s inescapable. As it should be.
Say what you will about partisan politics, but keep in mind who picked those partisans. Our electorate did. Voting is the most American thing you can do and participation is key for us as a nation to successfully select our leaders by the will of the people. Frankly, there’s no excuse not to participate.
Locally and across the region, early voting was down this year although there are some important races on the ballot. They include sheriff, county mayor, commissioner races, and school board. These are races that affect local taxpayers. The county commissioners decide how our tax money is spent; the school board oversees our schools. The sheriff oversees law enforcement in the county, and whether you agree or not, politics seemingly has played its hand there, especially when it comes to funding SROs and decent salaries for deputies. It shouldn’t be about popularity, but how well you do the job, but that’s how politics work.
It may be a calling, but most cops are not volunteers with lucrative day jobs. Having bills to pay and families to support does not negate a sense of mission, or mean that officers who want decent compensation are greedy. It means they’re normal humans, with a sense of responsibility for their families and personal obligations, as well as their communities.
Wanting to be able to participate in recreation is healthy and helps to manage stress, but even camping costs money. Wanting to be able to pay off debts, build up savings and provide for a child’s education is responsible, not mercenary. Wanting to rent or buy a house in a safe neighborhood is sensible, not pretentious.
If you call an officer, you want them there…but, let’s face it, we need to pay them a decent salary.
Elections are not only about voting, but about being informed. Knowing what is happening in your county, city, state, region, and country is essential, as it impacts nearly every aspect of your daily life. Local elections allow you to vote on who is in charge of your county, school system, and law enforcement. The people we elect will have a very large impact on the daily functions in our county, including the education your children will receive.
While local elections may feel insignificant because they are not as widely talked about as our presidential elections, they absolutely are not. In fact, they may matter more than presidential elections. Local elections help you to voice concerns you have about your state and city as well as give your opinion to those in charge. This has a direct impact on your life. In your local elections, votes count for significantly more, so it is important to be informed and to vote.
How can you become an informed voter?
Learn about the candidates. Knowing information about the candidates is important. You should learn about the candidates and key issues of the election, as well as the positions the candidates are running for. Having knowledge of this information is essential in you being able to make a well-informed decision in the voting process. Personally, we would not recommend cramming all of the information in at once. Spend time throughout the election season learning about the candidates so you can have a well-rounded perspective.
Take the information you are given into consideration to help you make an informed decision.
Considering bias and intent is important when it comes to the information you are collecting to make your decision about voting. Look at the advertisements you are consuming — who is putting them out, and where is the information coming from? You should also look at the candidates’ previous histories and if that can be put to good use in the positions they are running for.
Using these first two steps is a great step to becoming an informed voter. Once you have become a bit more informed, you can do other things to be an even better voter.
Voting is the most important step in the whole process. Making sure you know how you can be registered to vote is important, as well as knowing the options you have in terms of voting. Do you have to go in person or is an absentee ballot an option? Once you know you are registered and how to vote, you need to get out and vote. Staying an informed citizen is important, and your votes matter.

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