Editorial Cartoon

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming November general election passed on Monday, meaning that each voter who will cast ballots in that election are now registered and will have the opportunity to let their voices be heard in Kentucky.

So, voters, that means the time is coming for you to do your job.

You, the voter, will take part in electing the leaders you believe are right for Kentucky and the leaders who will shape or reshape the political landscape of the commonwealth. Voters will decide whether, in some cases, to stay the course, or to move in a different direction.

And, that’s why there really is no choice when the question is whether a person should vote in this election.

The decisions that are going to be made are heavy decisions — on the future of our county, our state and our nation.

Important positions, including governor and attorney general are up for grabs next month and it’s incumbent upon you to go out let your voices be heard. And the impacts of those decisions will be felt for years to come.

Or, you can stay home.

In the May primary election, less than 20 percent of Kentucky’s registered voters cast ballots, meaning that fewer than one person out of every five people who could vote chose the candidates we will ultimately vote upon in next month’s election. In total, May’s Democratic and Republican primaries saw a total of fewer than 659,000 ballots cast.

In most office settings, we’re not going to let one person dictate where the other four will go to lunch on any given day, but Kentucky’s voters let fewer than one person decide who the other four will vote upon. Eastern Kentucky’s polling places, especially, were mostly empty on primary election day. That’s a problem, especially considering how many people are affected by the actions and decisions of governors and attorneys general. 

So the real question is: Will you let someone else make those decisions for you?

Eastern Kentucky is facing real issues right now. We’re dealing with a flagging economy, deeply in need of jobs and industry to take the place of a coal industry hurting from a double-edged sword of decreased demand and environmental regulations that have hindered it.

Our community is, unfortunately, being flooded with drugs; both legal ones being diverted illegally and illegal drugs growing in popularity and availability. Many of these offices up for grabs will have a direct impact on that problem.

When you step into the ballot booth in November to mark your choices, we ask that you put aside your prejudices, your alliances, your friendships, any self-interest you may have for casting a vote, and instead cast your vote for the candidate you believe will move the community forward.

Make plans now to learn about the candidates, about the issues, so that you cannot only turn out to vote, but can do so from a place of being informed.

It’s easy to complain about the direction of your community, your county, your state or your country, but if you neglect your opportunity to make your voice heard at the ballot box, do you really have an effective voice in those complaints? So with that in mind, mark your calendars, set an alert on your phone, do whatever you need to do to remember to get out and cast your vote.

It’s nearly time for you, the voter, to do your job.

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