Don’t think your vote counts this election? Think again

A successful American government flows from an informed electorate.

We are nearing the end of another historic campaign season. Historic not for any one single event, but historic because every vote we cast connects us to our past.

Each time I step into the poll, I am reminded that in our past every American did not have the right to vote. It is for that reason that I am disappointed when only 22 percent of Indiana’s 4.4 million registered voters cast a ballot during the primary election.

Every election cycle we hear Americans give their excuse for not going to the polls: inconvenience, lack of competition, apathy brought on by negative campaigning, and so on. But when I saw Iraqi citizens lined up for hours to cast ballots and dip their finger in the purple ink, I was troubled by the overall decrease in civic participation.

So, over the past six months, as I’ve traveled more than 12,000 miles to all of Indiana’s 92 counties, including Jackson County last week, I decided I would conduct my own unscientific review of these excuses.

The No. 1 reason I hear: “Because my vote doesn’t count.” As a former county clerk I know first hand the importance of counting each individual vote. As a former state senator, I have seen first hand as my colleagues’ races were decided by votes you could count on one hand.

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