Editorial: Yes, your vote matters
As you read these words, the midterm election is only four days away, but for many of us, that’s a moot point. According to a news release from Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, 2,369 Moffat County residents had already cast ballots as of Thursday.
If you’re one of those residents, you have our thanks.
Still others among you have your ballots in hand and are thoughtfully considering the candidates and the issues before making your decisions.
You, too, have our thanks.
But our message today is intended primarily for those of you who haven’t voted and perhaps don’t intend to. Maybe you’re thinking none of the candidates deserve your vote, or perhaps you’ve been persuaded your vote doesn’t matter, anyway.
If you’re in this group, we respectfully ask that you reconsider.
We know the political rhetoric in recent years — and more pointedly, in recent months — has become uncharacteristically caustic, so it’s no surprise that, as a result, some of us may have become burned out on the whole process.
If this feeling is familiar, we understand. But we urge you to push past it.
Casting a vote is one of the most important things you can do, and the vehemence of the political advertising we’re seeing so much of underscores this importance. We live in turbulent, volatile times, and often, it seems the most we — as citizens — can do is vent our displeasure via social media. But once every couple of years — on Election Day — we can do something that might actually accomplish more than a war of cyber-words with total strangers.
On Nov. 6, the enormous power wielded by government is — for a single day — returned to us — we the people. We get to decide, and when you fail to vote, you abdicate this power and allow others to make your decisions for you.
As we mentioned before, you might be thinking none of that matters, that your single vote makes no difference whatsoever in the final outcome.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In 2000, the presidential election turned on the votes of fewer than 1,000 people in Florida, and more recently, in 2014, razor thin margins — margins made up by just a few individual voters in three states — delivered the White House to President Donald Trump.
At the local level, these margins become even more telling.
Last year’s $22.9 million bond/mill levy issue in Hayden was approved by a vote of 431-429. That means that, if only three more people had shown up to cast ballots in the other direction, the outcome would have been different.
This year, we’re considering several issues that will have a lasting impact on our community, and the fate of some of these issues could be a close as last year’s Hayden vote. So, in a very real sense, you — with your single vote — might the one who turns the tide.
During the past month, we’ve weighed in on several of the more important issues to our area, but today, we’re all done with that.
We’re not telling you how to vote, and we’re not even presenting a case for any one side over another. We’re only asking — pleading, really — that you participate in the process and cast your vote.
Yes … it really does matter.