Let your voices be heard

Voting is a fundamental right of American citizens so their elected government officials may hear their voices.

So make sure your voices are heard at the midterm elections this November. If you’re not registered to vote, do it now, before the Oct. 20 deadline passes.

We, the people, put individuals in office who ultimately make decisions for us, either by approving new laws or putting measures and bills before the populace to vote on – at the federal, state, county and city level.

Registering to vote is easier than it has ever been before — it can be done by mail, at your local DMV and also online through the California Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.ca.gov — and employers are even required to grant their employees to go to the polls.

There is no acceptable excuse for being absent on Nov. 4, election day.

The right to enter a polling location, step into that box and cast your vote has been fought for and many lives were lost in the pursuit.

No longer does America believe the opinions of men who are white and own land are the only ones that should have the right to be heard.

No longer are discriminatory practices and laws that keep blacks from the polls tolerated.

No longer are women expected to sit next to their husbands and fathers quietly while decisions are made for them.

Why, then, did only 58.7 percent of the voting-eligible population show up at the polls for the 2012 General Election?

According to statistics compiled by the United States Elections Project conducted by George Mason University: out of 221,925,820 individuals who were eligible to register and vote, only 130,292,355 cast their ballots.

The only issue that was more worrisome than those numbers was California’s 2012 turnout of 55.9 percent. Where was almost 50 percent of the population?

Freedom of speech is the most quoted of all U.S. Constitutional Amendments. Americans love to say whatever they want, when they want. But when the most important exercise of the First Amendment is to take place, crickets.

Voting is not only a fundamental right, but also the responsibility of every voting-eligible citizen. This is the only time when those in charge have to listen to their constituents and do what the general public demands they do. When else can we tell the people we hired what we think of their performance? They are employees of the people and are paid by the tax dollars they collect. Election time is when we, the people, put them under review.

Our forefathers did not throw a bunch of tea into Boston Harbor so a nation of free people could sit on the sidelines while the few make decisions for the many.

What happened to “no taxation without representation?”

People may say, “What is the point? My vote doesn’t really count anyway.”

The answer is this: Imagine what would happen if all those people decided to show up on election day, an extra 13,202,158 voices in California alone. The roar of that crowd would be louder than any politician standing on a podium.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” Let’s demonstrate we will not let our rights be taken from us, that we will not be silent.