The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 5, 2012

Ronald Brewer, guest columnist: Your vote does matter

By Ronald Brewer
Special to The Globe

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — What’s the big deal about voting? We have all heard at one time or another that our vote doesn’t matter — it’s just one vote. I would like to take a few minutes of your time to let you know that your vote does matter and most importantly does count.

 I was elected to the Jasper County 911 board roughly two years ago; I appreciated everyone who voted for me and my opponent. Everyone who decides to run for office has many different reasons for pursing that passion. But the one thing they need the most is your vote. There have been numerous elections in our area that have come down to one vote or a few votes that separate the candidates. Your vote matters.

I have served as an election official for Jasper County for some years. I thoroughly enjoy serving, meeting new people, and old friends as they come in to vote. It is fun to see mothers, fathers, and family members bring their children or grandchildren to see the voting process.

It has been said that voting is a privilege. That could be right. It has been said that voting is a duty. That also can be right. Some say that voting is a right and that also is true. Some even think voting is fun, and that may also be true. Whatever you decide, voting is a big deal.

It has been reported that when President Abraham Lincoln was elected, nearly 90 percent voted. Some historians even say that people traveled great distances, 20 miles or more, to vote.

I remember one thing my grandmother said to me about voting: “Ron, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” so I voted every election possible. I am sure I missed a few primaries, but never a big election. I have voted for candidates who won and ones who lost. But I always remember to vote, or I can’t complain.

When we vote we look at different candidates, their political stances, their philosophical viewpoints and their agenda, spoken or hidden, then we make the decision to vote. We even sometimes go to vote not knowing whom we are voting for, but we vote. Some change their minds as they decide. Some even decide not to vote; unfortunately they made the decision that their vote wasn’t a big deal.

Most reading this letter by now know voting is a big deal and will vote, but some will not. I would ask that no matter what your political affiliations are, you make your vote a big deal.

I have tried to stay away from my political leanings and my political affiliations in this letter. My “big deal” is for you to vote. It might take some time out of your day, you might have to leave early for work in the morning to vote, you might have to give up that lunch out on the town to vote. You might even have to miss eating dinner at the scheduled time to vote, but take the time, the energy, and vote. Make your vote a big deal.

Our county election officers have done a tremendous amount of work for this election, and the best thing we can do for them is making our vote a big deal. So come rain or shine the polls will be open, there might be long lines or short ones, there might be people you know or all strangers in line, but you have all come out for a singular event — to vote.

Voting is a difficult job, it isn’t easy, it takes time, it takes resolve, and it takes you. You are the big deal. Vote.

Ronald Brewer is a Jasper County 911 board member. He lives in Carl Junction.