Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Please register and turn out to vote this November

By any measure U.S. citizens do not show up to vote in respectable or democratic numbers. Internationally we are listed in the bottom third of developed countries when it comes to voter turnout in national elections. Countries like Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Australia (in that order) all have average voter turnout rates above 78%, while in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, only 56% of U.S. citizens who were old enough to vote actually turned out and voted.
Let us quickly examine at that reality. There are about 328 million people who live in the United States and about 250 million of those citizens are old enough to vote. These are the potential decision makers in our country and the citizens that have the power, right and responsibility to vote. In 2016 only 140 million U.S. citizens or 56% of those old enough to vote took their democratic responsibility seriously and turned out to vote. Of the U.S. citizens who voted, 46% (63 million) of them voted for our current President. These 63 million voters represent about 26% of the U.S. citizens who are of voting age, and the people who will decide who and how our county will be governed. Therefore, regardless of your political party, or whether you do or do not support our current President, the take-away message is that only 26% of decision makers in our country decided who is currently serving as our President. 
The United States is a democracy, which means that our government is ruled by the people and it takes a majority of those people to make the decisions for everyone. Majority rule is central to the proper functioning of a democracy, and you need at least 50% of people to make decisions for everyone. Therefore, allowing only 26% of our decision makers to decide who will govern our country is undemocratic and we can do better! 
The take-away message is that if you are over 18 years old, please register to vote and then get out and vote on election day! Voting is a right but also a responsibility in a true democracy. Otherwise vocal minorities can decide our collective future. Therefore, regardless of your political party please vote in the upcoming Special Election in Vergennes on Sept. 22 and then again in the November Presidential election. Make sure you request and get your mail-in ballot and make sure your vote gets counted. It is your duty and responsibility as a U.S. citizen, Vergennes resident and member of a democracy! (Data in this letter was taken from the U.S. Census bureau records.)
Vaughn T. Collins
West Ferrisburgh resident
Vergennes commercial property owner

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