2010-09-08 / Editorials

Make Democracy Work For You–Vote

Next Tuesday, September 14, is one of the most important days of the year for all good citizens. On Primary Election Day 2010 in Queens, candidates who have submitted their nomination petitions and whatever else is needed will vie for a place on the regular general election ballot for the contest in November. Simply put, a primary determines the candidates who will run in the general election.

In some cases many would-be candidates are seeking a particular office; in others, it is readily apparent that one person’s name will occupy a given line on a ballot. In either case, a primary election is one of the best opportunities offered to an electorate to witness democracy in action.

Many people of our acquaintance pass up the opportunity to vote in a primary, if one is held in their area. They plead being otherwise occupied, confusion or indifference. This is unfortunate, because history has amply demonstrated that a primary election counts as much as, if not in some case more than, a general election. A close primary election in June 1972 retired fabled New York Congressmember Emanuel Celler and put Elizabeth Holtzman in office the following January. Was the fact that Celler was no longer the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a post Holtzman as a freshman member lacked the seniority to assume, one of the factors that led to then President Richard Nixon’s resignation some 18 months later? It is impossible to know for sure, but, “For want of a nail...”. Every vote in every election, be it primary or general, matters.

Are you a registered voter? Get to the polls on Tuesday. If you are not registered, register now so you can vote in the general election November 2. If you can follow a sports team or a celebrity’s highly publicized antics, you can find out everything you need to know about the candidates and the issues. The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., 15 straight hours. Whatever your schedule, however busy your day, there surely must be 15 minutes somewhere that you can use for participating in the democratic process. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” according to British statesman Edmund Burke. Do not let ignorance, indifference or inertia triumph. Vote.

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