So any of my friends who read this will say, “Of course we knew she was a brat – nothing new there!” But there’s a reason for that: I’m a proud Army brat, daughter of a career soldier who started out in the National Guard and then joined the full-time ranks at the dawn of World War II. He chose to serve in the military for a number of reasons, one of which was just this simple: in a land of great opportunity, he believed – to the core of his being – that our rights as citizens are grounded in our obligations as citizens.
I think about this every election season – and there are many of them in Vermont, between Town Meeting, primaries and general elections.
The right to vote is a defining characteristic of a great democracy. But as my father’s daughter, I see it less as a right than a societal obligation, since the “right” means nothing if we don’t actually get off our couches and cast that vote.
There’s no excuse for not voting, either. The next general election is just around the corner – Tuesday, November 4. Just as we do every two years, we’ll be electing everyone from local Justices of the Peace to the Governor. Vermont cities and towns have made it easy to cast that ballot. Polls are open all that day until 7 PM, with some opening as early as 5 AM. And if you’re not going to be around that day, or simply want to get ahead of the game, you can get an absentee ballot today from your local town clerk and mail it in. I mean, how easy is that?!
The Vermont Secretary of State’s office, which is charged with overseeing statewide elections, has lots of information about the upcoming election, including how to register (you can do that up to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29) and where to cast your vote: https://www.sec.state.vt.us/elections.aspx.
The League of Women Voters says it well: “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Get out there and participate. Your vote – your voice in our democracy – is important.
Meg O’Donnell is Director of Government Relations and Assistant General Counsel at the University of Vermont Medical Center.