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Andy and I are voting absentee this year. Because he’s active duty military and we decided to keep our residence in Texas, we don’t have to jump through any additional hoops to get a ballot in the mail. Our ballots are on their way now. I pray for safe and speedy delivery. I write this now because many states have begun mail-in ballots. If that is your state and your intention is to vote through mail, get the process started now. We don’t know what complications may arise, so don’t wait. Do it now if your state allows.

I believe that voting is the key defining principle of our nation. For women, for minorities, for anyone whose vote was not guaranteed through the ages, this action is even more imperative.

I will not tell anyone who they should and should not vote for. What I will say, strongly, is I believe citizenship comes with responsibilities that should not be taken for granted. Sitting one out only leads to the candidate you most oppose gaining that advantage. As an American, I have a voice in this election. Everyone over the age of 18 with an active voter registration card has that voice. Because we all come from varying backgrounds, perspectives, life experiences, religions, cultures, and geographic regions, we all bring something unique to our ballots. It is when all of us, every eligible voter, exercises this right that we truly are able to represent the voice of the people.

Personally, my husband and I vote in every election. If there is a proposition about water drainage in our neighborhood, we are there. It doesn’t matter the issue, big or small. It doesn’t matter the position or candidate, local or national. Before COVID-19, we would bring our daughters to the polling place. They’re too young to understand, but I want them to grow up recognizing the importance of civic engagement. It is their duty when they come of age to participate in future elections. I want them to see this responsibility with excitement, not as a chore. They will help choose future presidents and representatives. They will help determine the outcome of propositions, taxation, and funding. It is a mighty responsibility, one that I pray they won’t shirk because the election isn’t the big one.

Beyond the responsibility of going to the polls, there’s the responsibility of research. Not knowing who and what you want to vote for before going and choosing names at random is irresponsible (in my opinion). Your voice matters, but know what your voice is supporting.

I think everyone’s choice in the polls is extremely personal. When selecting a candidate, figure out what are your most important issues (education, taxation, environment, health care, government spending, immigration, etc.). What is that candidate’s position on those issues? Do they align with yours? What are your personal moral codes? I think that’s important to consider. Politicians and other government representatives, I believe, should be held to a higher standard than the general public. Some people don’t think that’s important, and that’s fine if that’s you. For me, it does. So I ask myself, which candidate’s actions, behaviors, words, and impact aligns with my moral code? How is this candidate going to impact the issues I care most about? How is this candidate going to impact the nation, the world, and my individual family? What is this person’s track record?

It is rare to find a candidate that matches with all of your wishlist issues. It happens from time to time, but that is the exception, not the rule. Consider the candidates that are on the ballot for that specific position. Which of these candidates best aligns with what you consider important? Which candidate best represents your vision for our nation and local communities? Then pick.

No matter who you vote for, whether you support or oppose the candidate I’m backing, vote. Encourage your friends, your family, your neighbors, whoever you come across, to exercise their civic duty and vote.

One last point: If you are voting by mail, read EVERY direction clearly. Do not print until you’ve hit submit. Make sure you sign every line that requires a signature. Make sure that you cross all t’s and dot all i’s. You don’t want your ballot to get tossed out because you forgot to do a particular step. Make sure your voice counts. We may have technologically moved passed the hanging chads of the 2000 Election, but that doesn’t mean there are other issues that could invalidate your voice. Read the fine print and complete accordingly.


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