Benjamin Franklin was asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 what kind of government the delegates had created. He answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Most people in Europe and around the world thought America’s experiment in self-government would fail. It put too much power in the hands of the people, they thought. Franklin, himself, seems to have had questions about whether the people we now call Americans could succeed in such an ambitious experiment. But over the years, the American people’s fierce independence and commitment to the public good have proved the doubters wrong.
We cannot, however, take for granted the continued success of America and the electoral process. The foundation of our self -government is “we, the people” – that is, an informed, politically engaged population. As Americans, voting is not only our right; it is our duty, if we are to keep our form of self-government. It is our fundamental duty as Americans to learn about the candidates and the issues, and then cast our votes according to our best judgment as citizens of a free country.
The election this year will determine the future path of our country and impact the lives of every single one of us. It will bring about changes for Georgia and America. You can help decide what those changes will be and who will lead them by casting your vote on Election Day – Tuesday, Nov. 4th.
Now is the time for all Georgia voters — before casting our votes — to familiarize ourselves with the candidates, the offices they are seeking, and the issues in the races. So where do we go to find this information? Detailed information about the candidates and voting can be found at www.lwvga.org – “My Vote Counts” Voter Information.
Candidates throughout Georgia are asking, even begging, for a shot at the job of representing you in our representative government. The decisions these elected officials will make in office will impact our state and lives for years to come. And guess what? If you are a registered voter, you are on the hiring committee and can have a voice in who gets the jobs by casting your vote!
It is important that you have an Election Day game plan and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Make the commitment to vote and be prepared. Plan on when you will vote, where you will vote, who will get your vote, and how you will vote on the ballot questions.
As American citizens, it is our responsibility and civic duty to vote. It is a duty that was bestowed upon you by our forefathers and foremothers, to maintain our representative form of government – our republic. Make the commitment today to use your power of the vote. See you at the polls!!!
You can report any problems at the polls to 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).
Elizabeth Poythress is president, League of Women Voters of Georgia.