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We all must vote

POSTED November 1, 2013 11:57 p.m.

Tuesday is election day.

Vote!

To me it's scarier than "Blairwitch Project" that people have stopped voting.

In 2011, Ceres had 18,154 registered voters. Only 3,327, or 18.33 percent, even voted in the city election. If the trend continues, about the same percentage or less will turn out on Tuesday, which will determine who sits in two seats on the Ceres City Council.

I know in this day and age of skepticism that it's easy to think your vote doesn't count. I can't think of a place that a vote matters more than a City Council election.

There have been examples in this county where one vote would have made a difference. In Waterford, a mayor's seat ended in a 2002 tie vote with candidates drawing cards to determine the winner. The coin flip determined a winner in the same town in 1969.

In 1894, a Del Norte constable was seated by one vote, and in 1882 a supervisor won his seat in that county by the same simple margin.

In 1948, President Truman carried Ohio and California by less than one vote per precinct, thereby winning enough electoral votes to give him the presidency. And in 1960, one vote change in each precinct would have defeated John F. Kennedy.

In 2000 237 VOTES in Florida resulted in the election of George W. Bush to the presidency.

Five votes are what elected Dan Sparks to the Minnesota State Senate in 2002.

And it might be noted that in 2004, 129 votes determined that Christine Gregoire was the governor of Washington in a third and final hand recount.

But do we really need to be encouraged to vote based on the fact that our one vote might tip an election to candidate A or B? What happened to our sense of civic responsibility?

I was speaking about this topic to my daughter-in-law, saying it's the responsibility of all Americans to not just vote but to spend time studying the issues. I love her to pieces but her response was disappointing: "Who's got time?" Wait, I told her, my youngest son can serve in the Air Force to defend his country and others can die for our freedom and the right to vote and we answer by saying we don't have time? No wonder Americans fall for slick politicians, whether it's a Huey Long in Louisiana — who was so corrupt and dictatorial that people wanted him shot (and he was in 1935) — or an Obama who shoves government run healthcare so far down our throats that nobody has had time to vomit it up yet.

It should shame us as Americans that we are disengaged, apathetic and lazy. Collectively we care little about the news or what our officials are doing. We abdicate all power to them and let them run roughshod over our rights and spend us into oblivion. This pathetic electorate that we have — and if you don't vote, wham, I just let you have it aside the head — is a shameless indictment on American culture. How did we get to such a point that it's okay for men and women to die to protect our freedom yet we are too bothered to vote? Or if we do, we vote for whoever looks good or talks the talk and promises change but delivers enslavement and burdens that nobody anticipated. Did we forget that JFK asked us all, very appropriately, "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"?

How do you feel? Let Jeff know at jeffb@cerescourier.com.

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