Many citizens do not exercise their right to vote. They give up their right to express themselves on the issues because taking the time in their very busy lives to vote and investigate the issues is cumbersome to them. Others think their one vote does not make a difference, so why bother?
Often, elections are decided by a very small majority of those eligible and registered to vote. The success of our democratic system depends on the willingness of all the people to self-govern. In America, we have a government that is for, by, and of the people. It means each citizen has the responsibility to actively participate in the voting process. Therefore, the problem of decreased voter participation is a serious one.
Several reasons for this problem of voter apathy have become apparent. In many elections, a majority of Americans find themselves compromising their views and voting not for a candidate with whom they agree, but rather for the candidate whom they dislike the least. This compromise is a result of the two-party system on which we rely for voting simplicity. Also, many voters are saddened by the fact that their views are not represented by their elected officials and that they have no real power in their government. Voters have expressed their apathy by stating that it doesn't matter whom they vote for because the candidates were essentially all the same, and none of them would represent them effectively.
Your vote does make the difference. Not everyone will agree with your vote, but voting may elect the right candidate or prevent the wrong candidate from being elected or re-elected. The future of our county, state and country should be in your hands, not in the hands of the power brokers who constantly decide elections because of the amount of money they have. Money is powerful, but your vote has a greater power.
Our current system of voter registration in Hernando County has changed so that registration is a simpler, faster process in order to increase the level of voter participation. Use of absentee/mail ballots has been encouraged, and early voting polling locations are published on the supervisor of elections website so that all voters are aware of these locations. The above steps are taken in order to simplify the voting process and encourage more people to vote because less effort will be required of them. The absentee/mail ballots request form can be obtained on-line at www.hernandovotes.com/absentee.htm, or call the office 754-4125 and request an absentee/mail ballot form.
Democracy can exist only when the voters are willing and able to take an active role in their government by casting their vote. If we can increase voter participation in all elections by simplifying the voting process and allowing for voter representation of all views in our government, then a true democracy will prevail.
Vito J. Delgorio Sr. lives in Spring Hill.