EDITORIAL: Make sure your voice is heard by registering to vote

(Erica Miller/Staff Photographer)
PHOTOGRAPHER:

(Erica Miller/Staff Photographer)

You might not care what government does.

Maybe you’re disillusioned or fed up with politics. Or maybe you’re just not interested in the whole thing, preferring to focus on your own life.

But if you take a few minutes to consider your own life, you’ll realize how much government is a part of it, good and bad.

Everything from covid restrictions and vaccination policies, to housing projects in your neighborhood, to gas prices and interest rates on loans, to whether your water lines burst in the winter and whether your roads have potholes, to how much you get back on your tax returns, to a million other things.

They’re all functions of government.

Whether you choose to ignore it or not or be interested in it or not, the government plays a giant role in your daily life.

And the people who get the most votes on Election Day make all the decisions. If you sit out the election, you are ceding to others your ability to influence those people.

But to participate, you have to register to vote.

Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, a day designed to remind people of their right and obligation to vote.

This year’s election is especially important.

All statewide offices, including governor and every single member of the state Legislature, are on the ballot, as is a $4.2 billion environmental bond act referendum. There are also a number of local contests, although this is mostly an off-year for local races.

In addition, every single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for election, along with a third of the U.S. Senate. Here in New York, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is on the ballot seeking a fifth term along with your local member of Congress.

The outcome of the congressional races will determine party control of each house of Congress for the next two years and the direction of the entire country. At stake in addition to fiscal policy and legislation is possible control of the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are 48 days until Election Day on Nov. 8, only a few days before you can begin requesting absentee ballots and only about six weeks until you can vote early. Your opportunity to vote will soon be here.

The deadline to register is Oct. 14.

Registering is easy. You have to be at least 18, be a citizen of the state and locality where you’re voting, and a few other qualifications. It’s actually a pretty low bar for registration.

You can register to vote online or in person with legitimate identification, and there are some steps you have to take.

Go to the Board of Elections website at https://www.elections.ny.gov/ and scroll down on the green box on the left to where it says Voting Information. Or visit your county’s Board of Elections office.

Your voice does matter, and voting does make a difference.

But if you don’t register, it’s a guarantee your voice won’t matter at all.

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Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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