No doubt you have been bombarded by messages urging you to vote on Nov. 3.

While you might get tired of hearing it, we hope you won’t get tired of voting.

It is your civic duty to take part in the process to choose our leaders. We often complain about their performance; that should be the catalyst to get us to the polls. If we have no complaints, that should be a catalyst, too, to make sure our officials retain office.

It’s also your privilege to vote. From the Revolutionary War, people have fought and died for all of us to have the right to vote. We should honor their sacrifices by helping decide who represents us in Washington, D.C., as well as at state and local levels.

Today, some of us are so hopeless about the state of the country that we don’t believe our vote counts. But we can look to our own history and see that it does.

Nationalgeographic.com points out:

“In 2000, Al Gore narrowly lost the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush. The election came down to a recount in Florida, where Bush had won the popular vote by such a small margin that it triggered an automatic recount and a Supreme Court case. In the end, Bush won Florida by 0.009% of the votes cast in the state, or 537 votes. Had 600 more pro-Gore voters gone to the polls in Florida that November, there may have been an entirely different president from 2000 to 2008.”

True, you have only one vote, not 600. In the newspaper business, however, there is a rule of thumb to gauge public opinion: If one person feels strongly enough to write a letter to the editor about a subject, there are about 100 others who feel the same way. If you can apply that to voting, you can see why every vote matters.

If none of this information inspires you to vote, think about this: Our democracy functions because individuals have freedom, and with freedom comes responsibility, like voting. Sometimes we hear about voter turnout being low in the United States, as opposed to 98% turnout in many non-democratic countries. But many in those countries are compelled to vote. There often is only one party on the ballot — the controlling party. Sometimes ballots aren’t private, as those who vote against the ruling party may be punished.

Compared to those countries, voting in the United States is easy, fair and safe. It’s your chance to voice your opinion, and perhaps most importantly, it strengthens our democracy.

Vote. Please.

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