Publisher's Note ó Voting Matters

Voting Matters

By Jody Reese

On November 2, we all get to do a pretty incredible thing, choose the leadership of our state and country. Itís a privilege that most people on this planet never have.

This issue of Hippo looks at the local elections for the state house races and race for governor. Hippo puts out an election issue every election cycle so readers can get an idea of whoís running and what the issues are. Itís important stuff.

Unfortunately, between 30 and 40 percent of eligible voters will not cast a vote in Manchester. In the nation at large about 50 percent of eligible voters will not vote.

Thatís bad. More of us should vote.

Itís hard. Many folks commute to work in Massachusetts and canít get back in time to make it to the polls before they close at 8 p.m. In places such as Washington D.C. and California, itís worse. There commuters can spend four hours a day in the car and the rest of the day at work, far away from their polling station.

As someone who generally dislikes the national holidays we already have, Iím surely the last one to propose another one. So I wonít. Instead, we should use one of the national holidays that isnít all that important, such as Columbus Day, and move it to Election Day, so workers have the day off to vote. School children get the day off in Manchester; and so should their parents.

There is little else government can do to get us to vote. The rest of the responsibility is with us, and in most cases, itís folks under 30 who donít vote.

The Union Leader recently ran an op-ed column in which the columnist said that young people shouldnít vote because they donít understand the issues, donít own property and just generally donít have as much at stake.

The columnist forgot to mention that the men and women of our armed forces are young. Almost all of those soldiers killed in Iraq have been under 30 years old. He also failed to mention that young people still sign up for the draft, so that even if the President says he wonít call on them, they could be called upon. What if we end up going to war with Iran? Then a draft would be almost certainly be required. So yes young voters have a very vested interest in the election.

It can seem at times that voting doesnít make a difference. It can seem at times that the candidates are alike. But it does and they arenít. And voting, even when itís difficult, is important for a healthy government.

óJody Reese

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH