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Making your vote count

October 30, 2014

In the makeup of our great country, some of the fundamental principles of the constitution include the freedom of speech and the right to vote. Each year there is an election held somewhere in America, either a regular or a special session. For the most part, the majority of elections are held in the Fall on the first Tuesday in November. This is especially true for all national elections and may include those running for President, US Senate or Congress. In this long standing and bold tradition, many states, cities, counties and local municipalities also hold their elections on the same day. It is about taking advantage of a higher expected voter turnout. Besides electing people to public office, some elections may also include a number of binding and nonbinding resolutions, new laws to consider, and funding requests. In some years a ballot can be very long, confusing and complex, especially during presidential elections. During off-year elections, (non-presidential), ballots are more reasonable and expected turnout is usually lower. As I look back on American history, the right to vote has not always been there for African Americans and other people of color. It is amazing that throughout our history there have been individuals, organizations, businesses and political parties that have tried to influence the vote or restrict that right. This has occurred through redistricting, changing campaign finance laws, voting rules, high level endorsements of candidates, and allowing more money to be given to a particular candidate. For most this is the age of …“how to buy an election.” However, each election cycle brings something new to the “game of politics,” regardless of the level of the office. Today, there is a lot of strategy, research and analysis being done before, during and after each race. The amount of time, energy and staffing that goes into a campaign these days is enough to keep your head spinning for some time. Additionally, there are the media ad buys on radio, cable, television, and in newspapers. In addition, let not forget those spot interviews, forums on issues, candidate debates and my favorite … “robocalls.” It is enough to make us all “famous,” … looking to be seen and seen to be heard. But what makes an election so great in our American experience is that it puts everyone on the same level… everyone has one vote… and that is it. It does not matter what your political views are, likes and dislikes about a candidate, the “playing field is the same.” An election does not depend on how much money you have, the kind of house you live in, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, or being rich, poor or just getting by… an election depends on you taking the time to cast your vote and that gives you the loudest voice in the world. Regardless of what your personal feelings are about elections, they are a part of the fabric of America and our political process. There is no need to voice your outrage about elections, they were here before we were born and they will be around long after we are gone. The critical question is “will you chose to exercise your fundamental right, if and when an election is upon us?” Let see, election time is here, November 4 is just around the corner… and the stakes are high. What do you think? Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at andrewiiicalhoun@ gmail.com, Twitter #AC53, or call 414-571-5015. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee.