Newspaper editorial writers routinely exhort their readers to “get out and vote” on Election Day. We typically write that in a democracy, voting is not merely the right of every citizen, but an obligation. It is the best means each of us has of demonstrating both to our elected officials and to our fellow citizens that we care about the direction of our government. And it is the most direct means at our disposal for influencing what direction our government will take.
We also always note that “this election is important,” blah, blah, blah, as if to suggest that there may be some elections that are not important.
Well, in our experience, every election has significance, because every election presents us with choices. Based upon the choice we collectively make, the future can take very divergent paths depending on whom we elect into office. For example, let’s suppose Al Gore had been elected President 10 years ago instead of George W. Bush. There would have been no Iraq War and none of the attendant, devastating consequences that it has had for our nation.
Although that is the most profound example we can think of from our immediate past to prove how a decision in the voting booth can mean so much to so many, this year’s state election likewise will have huge implications for the future direction of state government. The major candidates for governor represent sharply divergent views on many issues and their influence will be felt for years to come.
In addition, there are three ballot questions that promise to have a deep and lasting effect on state and local government. We address Question 2 in depth below, but suffice to say that if Question 3 passes (and Question 1 to a lesser extent), state and local governments as they presently exist will be destroyed, all of which may be fine, but there is no alternative plan to fill the void that will be left.
So, we did not intend to write the usual “get out and vote” editorial — but we guess we did — so please get out and vote Tuesday.