Early voting has begun here in Georgia and from various media reports, turnout has been strong so far. In Cherokee County where I live, the line at my local library was so long I opted to wait until Election Day. I must admit to being very pleased that so many of my neighbors are taking their civic duty seriously this early in the process and are casting their ballots early. I am no expert on elections but I will not be surprised to learn that this cycle has record voter turnout.
Of course, the election at the national level has been dominated by the presidential race between President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney. Both men have articulated their positions providing the nation with a clear decision between two very different visions of the future. Conflicting polls, endless media bombardment, and enough rhetoric to fill the Georgia Dome will all culminate in a decision in a few short days. For my part, the only bad thing about this election cycle coming to an end is that it will also mark the beginning of the next. It seems our politicians are in a perpetual campaign mode these days.
The other big decision in the minds of many Georgians is the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that would grant the state the power to create and fund public charter schools. Opponents of the amendment state there is enough school choice in Georgia, it would undermine local control of schools and divert funds away from already underfunded public schools. Supporters counter that the amendment requires the schools to be run by a local non-profit board thus increasing local control, provides for more innovation and accountability, and is more effective in educating students with reduced funding saving taxpayer’s money.
There are other issues that could be mentioned such as the congressional races or the second constitutional amendment that would allow the state to enter into multi-year real estate rental agreements. While these are valid topics, the point of my blog today is this: are you informed about the issues that matter to you? Will you make the effort to do a little research on the issues and educate yourself or will you simply let the media campaigns for the candidates and interest groups be your source of information? Are you ready to go to the polls?
Voting is a privilege that too many of our fellow citizens take for granted. Take the time to be informed on the positions of the candidates and learn about the pros and cons of the other initiatives on the ballot before heading to the polls. Don’t settle for the views of others when you have the right to cast your own ballot and make your views known. And then, after doing your own research, go to your polling place and vote your conscience November 6th.