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Our view: Importance of your vote

It’s every adult American’s right and duty to vote. It’s a cornerstone of our society that we be led by a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Your vote is your voice, and if you don’t use it, you have no right to complain.

Every election year – especially in presidential election years – the public is bombarded with messages about the importance of voting.

There are get-out-the-vote drives mounted from various quarters.

There has been a push in Illinois to make it easier than ever to vote, allowing people to vote for weeks before Election Day, even if they haven’t registered yet.

And yet, even in the most hotly contested elections, more than one in four registered voters in McHenry County don’t cast a ballot, to say nothing of those who are eligible to vote but do not register.

President Barack Obama’s victory against Republican John McCain in 2008 represented a high-water mark for voter turnout in McHenry County. In that race, about 70 percent of registered voters came to the polls.

What about those other 30 percent? Don’t they have a stake in this, too? Why would they choose not to exercise their right?

Surveys and studies of Americans’ voting behaviors have shown that reasons for not voting include being too busy, feeling that their vote won’t count, being disillusioned with the system, or that it’s simply inconvenient.

Unfortunately, sitting out does nothing to help any of that.

The system won’t change by you not participating, and the only way your vote is assured not to count is if you don’t cast one.

Even if you don’t like, say, President Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney, they’re not the only candidates on the ballot. And the presidential race is hardly the only issue that will be settled by the Nov. 6 election.

There are many local races, including for Congress, state representative and Senate, McHenry County Board, and a handful of referendum questions to be decided.

If you haven’t voted already, make sure you do on Tuesday.

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