Get out the vote

Melissa Stagnaro

Since tomorrow is Election Day, I’ll be making a bit of a detour before heading in to work. I won’t be making the trip to the polls all by my lonesome, either. You see, it’s become something of a tradition among the Stagnaro’s to trundle into the car and head over to the polls en masse.

Okay, so maybe three of us doesn’t technically classify as “en masse,” but since none of us are what you’d call morning people, even that sometimes feels like a crowd.

In years past, we only had a mere 2-mile jaunt to our district polling station, the Grange Hall in Smithville Center. Now, however, we drive right by Hammerlee Road, where the historic structure is located, on our way to the Town Hall in Smithville Flats.

If you’ve ever traveled County Road 3 (known on the Oxford end as Tyner Road and the Smithville end as Bottle Hill Road) this time of year – particularly in the early morning hours – you know that there is a certain amount of risk involved. Let’s just say the local deer population enjoys a good game of “chicken” now and again.

Of course that’s nothing compared to what our founding fathers, suffragettes and civil rights activists went through to ensure all Americans have the right to vote. So we suck it up.

Because, while my parents and I aren’t always of the same mind about what candidate may be the best choice, we do agree on one thing: That voting isn’t just a right or a privilege, it’s a responsibility.

And, in my opinion, it’s what gives us leave to voice our disdain or (on rare occasions) support for the political machine the rest of the year. Because, honestly, I think those who don’t exercise the right to vote should automatically forfeit their “right” to moan and complain until the next election.

Ha, that would teach ‘em!

Seriously, though, I think some people operate under the misconception that their individual vote doesn’t count. When I hear this excuse, I always point out the last couple of elections. Last year there were several local races decided by incredibly narrow margins – including one town supervisor race where literally one vote decided the outcome. In 2008, the first time Richard Hanna challenged Mike Arcuri, the race was too close to call on election night. I think that’s a lesson to all of us, really. Why would you pass up the chance of being involved in the process of choosing who is going to determine how our local, county, state and federal government will be run for the next term?

I always think of how horrified those who sacrificed so much to give us the right to vote would be if they knew how much we took it for granted. Shouldn’t we want to make them proud?

When the polls open tomorrow, I don’t care who you cast your ballot for. As long as you vote!

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.