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Stay involved in process of democracy

by Kelly Kite

Just in case you have not noticed, the presidential election process is in full bloom. Nightly newscasts give us blow by blow updates on primary elections across the nation. It’s going to be a long year.

I have often heard, “I only vote in the presidential elections. Those are the important ones.” For those people, it’s your year. For everyone else, I would encourage you to get involved with local politics, be informed, be vocal, and make your voices heard. Your local officials are listening.

Having been fortunate enough to visit a local elementary school recently, I was asked point-blank by one student, “How is the best way to get involved?” I reminded them that the letters they had written were the reason I was there, and assured them that if they continued to write them, they would be read. Actually, it’s just that easy. Make a call, attend a public meeting, write letters; anything to express your opinion. It does make a difference. Do not fall into the old “My one vote makes no difference” trap. As the voter turnout continues to decline, your one vote speaks louder all the time.

Delaware was our first state. One of Delaware’s most outspoken patriots, Caesar Rodney, was the single necessary vote at the Second Continental Congress, allowing the United States of America to become a reality. Delaware’s other two delegates had split their vote and without a vote of confidence from all 13 colonies our quest for independence may have died. Rodney rode 80 miles on horseback on July 1-2, through heat, mud and thunderstorms to deliver the deciding vote. He signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4. That was quite the vote.

Many other single votes throughout history have been just as important. Your vote does count, especially in local elections. There can be no other form of government that affects your day-to-day life more than at the local level. After all, it is your roads, your zoning, and your fire and police protection. It is your lifestyle. Your tax dollars are needed to keep our county going. It is your vote and your attention that makes sure these dollars are spent wisely.

Our system is not perfect, but it still remains the most envied of all. The only thing that can and is eroding its effectiveness is lack of participation. Exercise your right to vote every time you have the opportunity. It is your nation, your state and your county. Never allow a small percentage of the population to make your decisions for you. Your vote just might be the one to change the course of history.

n County Commissioner Kelly Kite represents District No. 5.