Action, action, we want action!
While the cheerleaders may chant that as a way of encouraging the ball team to give the best performance, when it comes to life and policy, it’s a cheer that many citizens are pushing for on a number of different topics, both locally, statewide and nationally.
The best way to ensure the action you favor come to fruition is to take action — by running for office or being an active, educated voter.
While the November elections may seem far enough away not to be thinking about political change, it is closer than one might think. For most of the races on the Nov. 6 ballot, filing is going on now. With the period to file paperwork ending on Feb. 28.
Already new candidates have put their names in the running for several seats, and at the state level with district lines changed, do you know who is representing you now and what new district you might be in and who represents that area?
For Yadkin County, its residents along with Iredell, are in a brand new North Carolina Senate district boundary, meaning they will have a new person representing their interests in Raleigh. Who will that be? Have you ever thought of running for office? That might just be the opening for you.
Maybe actually serving in an elected role isn’t something you are interested in or aspired to do, but you still need to make sure you are supporting the people who hold your best interest at heart when you go to the polls.
Please don’t complain about the actions of elected officials if you are older than 18 and didn’t take advantage of the chance to at least cast a ballot for the person who would have taken action the way you best saw fit.
If you are older than 18 and don’t have a felony record, then I strongly urge you to get involved. That doesn’t mean you have to actively campaign for anyone, that doesn’t mean you even have to comment one way or the other about happenings in the political arena. It just means you should read up a little on the candidates — those on in all parties, you never know who might surprise you with their beliefs and actions — and take five or 10 minutes to go to an early voting site or your precinct poll to “voice your opinion” by casting a ballot.
I’ve been voting as long as I’ve been able to. I may have, but I don’t remember going to the polls as a kid with my parents, but now I try to take my son with me when I’m able to go vote so he starts learning at an early age how important it is to choose the representatives with which your beliefs are aligned.
My first election was the year Bill Clinton was reelected as president, 1996, and I remember standing in a long line after school at my precinct polling place with my parents waiting on my turn to vote. I was a little nervous, but it went on without a hitch.
After that year I was in college, so I voted via absentee ballot for candidates representing the areas of my home county, then Guilford County. Early voting polls weren’t available then like they are now, so those were paper ballots that had to be mailed back to the board of elections by a certain date.
I’m fairly certain I’ve not missed a primary, second primary or general election since that time. And all of those times I’ve actually gone to vote on election day, only opting to vote early once in 2010 when election day was only a week before my son’s due date. Thankfully I did vote early, because I was induced on election day and Little Man was born just two and a half hours after the polls closed that day.
No, you don’t always get your way when you go to the polls. Sometimes your candidate isn’t going to be the one favored by the majority. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.
Too often I hear, “I don’t vote, because nothing’s going to change.” Well, as long as that is the attitude of everyone, then they are right. But if all of those people took a few minutes out of their day — and employers must allow employees the time to go vote — to cast a ballot, then who knows what changes might occur.
I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to register to vote, the deadline for the May 8 primary is April 13. That can be done when renewing your driver’s license, or by filling out a voter registration form and mailing or walking it into your county’s board of elections office. Then learn about all the candidates, go to the polls and vote.
Take the opportunity to meet the candidates at events like last night’s Democratic Congressional Candidate Forum held at Elkin High School. You don’t have to vote for the person filing under your party in the general election, only in the primary are you restricted to voting in just one party, so take the time to get to know the candidates in all parties.
This year’s elections will affect all residents, as it is an even year and elections are held for all of the state House and Senate seats, several county seats including sheriff, commissioner and school board, and for Congressional races for federal representation.
After you vote on primary and general election days, take a picture of you wearing your “I Voted” sticker and share it with us Facebook. Show us you are taking “action, action.”
Wendy Byerly Wood is editor of The Tribune and The Yadkin Ripple. She may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.