Men and women have died so that we can have a voice in how our community, state and nation are run. Elections provide a forum for issues to be vigorously and peacefully debated. This is a fundamental part of our democracy and failure to cast a ballot means you are ignoring the opportunity to have a voice in your future.
Bradley County is a growing community facing new and complex responsibilities. How will this growth be managed and paid for? Who will represent your views on the County Commission, City Council, school board, the state Legislature and U.S. Congress? These decisions are made at the ballot box. Failure to vote means your voice has been silenced.
Voting takes a personal commitment. You must take time to register and learn about each candidate. On Election Day you may need to leave work, stand in a long line and possibly slog through bad weather. But it’s a commitment that demonstrates our determination to preserve this great experiment in liberty we call America.
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” He was pointing out that votes will be cast by individuals for individuals running for individual districts in your community. It’s just another way of saying that each person running for public office must never forget they represent the people, not special interests. I believe we have some outstanding candidates who have offered themselves for public service this election cycle. I urge you to learn as much about each one as you can and cast your ballot for the person who best represents your views.
There are several contested primary races on the Aug. 2 ballot. You can make your choice in the U.S. Senate race as well as contested primaries in the 3rd and 4th District races for Congress. On the state level, there is a contested primary in the newly created 10th District state Senate race. State representative, Districts 22 and 24, which includes Bradley County, Cleveland, Meigs and Polk counties, are also contested races.
On the local level there are contested races for Bradley County School Board in Districts 1 and 3, as well as a contested race for the City Commission in Charleston. Cleveland voters in Districts 3 and 5 will be choosing someone to represent them on the City Council. Voters will also decide the outcome of the proposed wheel tax referendum. Local elections like these really do have an impact on your daily life. The ballot box is our way of convincing leaders to adopt and adapt to the will of the people who elect them.
One voting precinct has been temporarily moved due to the April 2011 storms. Those who normally voted at Blue Springs School will be voting in the concession stand in Blue Springs Park. Look for signs at the entrance to the school.
The polling places will open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Thursday. A sample ballot is available on the Bradley County Election Commission website at www.bradleyelections.com. If you have any questions about where you are supposed to vote, please contact the Election Commission Office at 728-7115. The Bradley County Election Commission is dedicated to holding fair and impartial elections for our citizens.
Decisions we make in the voting booth impact our children, grandchildren and all generations that follow. Let them know that you care enough about them and your community to vote. It also sets a good example and encourages civil responsibility. Vote ... or lose your right to complain.