Make your Vote Count on Election Day

Tuesday, November 6th, is Election Day across the United States. This year’s election is shaping up to be one of the most decisive elections of our lifetime. Ohio voters will choose a U.S. President, a U.S. senator, all 16 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, seats in the state legislature, and will decide various local ballot measures.

Each of these elections will be important and many may be decided by a handful of votes. Ohio is considered an important swing state and often plays a deciding role in national elections. In recent years, the Buckeye State has proved to be a remarkably good predictor of the election winner. Ohio voters have supported the winning candidate in each of the last 12 presidential elections. That is why it is important to encourage your families, friends and coworkers to arrange their schedules accordingly, and make their voices heard on Election Day.

The right to vote is the foundation of our representative form of government. In 1795, Thomas Paine, one of America’s Founding Fathers, wrote: "The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected." The vote is a fundamental constitutional right that empowers the American people to determine their representation and influence the policies that will impact the future of our country.

The underlying cause of the American Revolution was taxation without elected representation. Our country was therefore founded on the idea that the citizens of a country deserve the right to select their leaders. During our nation’s history many have risked and sacrificed their lives to safeguard all of our freedoms, including our right to vote.

In the years following the Civil War, the right to vote has been protected and expanded to include previously disenfranchised groups. The 15th Amendment to our Constitution, ratified in 1870, guaranteed all Americans the right to vote regardless of race. The enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 has helped protect this right for millions of our fellow citizens. In 1920, the ratification of the 19th Amendment granted all women in the United States the right to vote. The Constitution was amended again in 1971, lowering the minimum voting age to 18.

As Americans, we are privileged to live in a country that gives its citizens the ability to choose their leaders and help shape their government’s future. Our representative democracy is, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Yet, many Americans regularly fail to exercise their right to vote.

Elected officials make decisions that can directly affect your life. The men and women you elect will decide issues of tremendous importance to citizens throughout our state and our nation. There are also local elections that can have an even more immediate and personal effect on you, your schools, your family, and community. I encourage every American to participate in our democracy through early voting, absentee balloting, or by visiting your local polling place on Election Day. By voting, you play an important role in a process that determines who will represent you, your family and your neighbors in every level of government. Each and every vote is the voice of a citizen of the United States of America. Make your vote count this Election Day.

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