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Getting Out The Vote Vital

Leaders of both major political parties agree on one thing: The presidential election scheduled for Tuesday is among the most important in American history. Its outcome will shape our government, economy, even our society for many years to come. Your life and that of your children and grandchildren will be affected profoundly.

Chautauqua County has had poor voter turnout for local elections — particularly school board and budget elections — but has tended to have high turnout for presidential elections. In 2016, the last presidential cycle, Chautauqua County had 72% voter turnout. Back in 2008, voter turnout was 76%. The 2020 election gives us no reason to think turnout won’t be high here again. The county has already had 23% of its projected voters vote, either by absentee vote or by voting early at one of the three different sites across the county beginning last Saturday.

Entering Tuesday, 4,480 had voted at the three sites while 8,433 of the 11,744 absentee ballots requested have been returned. In total, 12,913 people have voted with election day less than a week away.

Elections shape so much, however, that we would love to see voter turnout approach 100% this year instead of 75%. Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, there is no reason for not voting this year. Absentee voting by mail, early voting in person and Election Day voting on Tuesday provide options to ensure your voice is heard.

If you are reading this, you probably understand the importance of this election. Perhaps you have voted already. But what about others you know, perhaps even in your own family or circle of friends? Are they as engaged as you are?

If not, encourage them to make a difference by voting. Offer to help, perhaps by explaining the mail-in ballot process or offering to drive them to their polling place on Tuesday.

How you vote is important, of course. But more critical in the long run is whether you participate in the election.

Our form of government – of, by and for the people – can endure only if we Americans are part of it. If we do not use the most effective tool at our disposal – the ballot – to get the kind of government we want, we will not get it. It is that simple.

Vote, then, and spread the word about how important it is to do so. You can make a difference there, too.

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