Political campaigns are building momentum, with candidates making the rounds to urge voters to choose the oval beside their name when they go to the polls for the primaries in March. It’s representational government in action, and should draw the attention and participation of every American of voting age, regardless of their interest or disdain for politics.
It should, but it doesn’t. In some countries, citizens will walk for miles to participate in the selection of their nation’s leadership. Meanwhile, voter turnout in Alabama remains disappointing.
In the primary elections in March 2016, Alabama had 3.06 million registered voters. Of those, 1.26 million ballots were cast, according to the Alabama secretary of state’s office. That’s 41.4%.
Participation was better in the general election that year, with roughly two-thirds of voters participating. Of 3.19 million registered voters, 2.13 million votes were cast.
One explanation offered by people who don’t vote is that they believe one vote won’t make a difference.
We beg to differ about the power of one.
In today’s edition is a story about one person who made a difference. Robert Byrd of Hartford met a young man in Guatemala whose future looked grim. That meeting made an extraordinary difference in many lives.
One vote may not have the same potential as Byrd’s singular decision in Guatemala 25 years ago, but it has extraordinary power when joined by thousands of others.
Make your plans now for the March 3 primaries. There’s plenty of time to locate your polling place and adjust your calendar to allow for this important right.