Elections are an important part of democracy | Guest column

Elections are an important part of democracy | Guest column

by Brad Brown

Our Revolution Orcas

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” ― Abraham Lincoln

“We must try again to be alive to what the people of our country really long for in our national life: forgiveness and grace, maturity and wisdom…Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls.” ― Peggy Noonan, “Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now”

The United States Constitution provides for a voice in decision-making by the people – plain, ordinary people.

This is democracy and it is that which we treasure and fight for and, in some cases, die for.

It is also that which we, at times, neglect.

Now is the season of voting and a time of decision-making. The vote is a measure of the trust we have in each other and in the system.

Originally, the constitution had allowed for only about six percent of the U.S. population to vote (landed white males). Throughout our history since a gradual increase in franchise has occurred as blacks, women, 18 year-olds have been added to the voter rolls. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 codified voting rights for certain classes of citizens, including indigenous peoples.

In just a year’s time, from 2011 to 2012, 27 measures were passed or implemented in 19 states that make it harder to vote.

LET’S VOTE, ORCAS! is a non-partisan group of local current and retired teachers, business owners and active citizens which is dedicated to educating and motivating the community to register and vote. Our Revolution San Juan County is part of this association and supports its efforts.

Our Revolution is dedicated to a universal adult franchise, to voting restoration to felons who have completed their sentences, to a reduction of barriers to voting and to same-day registration.

Our Revolution joins LET’S VOTE, ORCAS! and the American Civil Liberties Union’s People Power, Let People Vote and the League of Women Voters who stated, “Voting is a fundamental right and all eligible voters should have the equal opportunity to exercise that right. We are dedicated to ensuring that our elections remain free, fair and accessible.”

Any questions about registering and voting for San Juan County residents can go online at sanjuanco.com/1225/Voter-Information or email elections@sanjuanco.com. You can also call 360-378-3357. State election offices are at elections@sos.wa.gov.

Our Revolution San Juan County is on Facebook. To contact Let People Vote, call Brad Brown at 360-298-2840.

Brad Brown is on the steering committee of Our Revolution San Juan County and is the contact person for People Power on Orcas. He will be moderating a six-week discussion of the Cold War at the Orcas Library in the fall.