Why Vote: One Vote Can Have a Lasting Impact

5/17/2011 6:25 PM
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Why vote? I called my mom today to see how things were going at her polling place, and the word she said was slow. How slow? Another polling place report was fewer than 50 people had voted before noon.
    She was hoping things would pick up as people remembered to stop in on their way home from work. 
    I feel strongly that voting is one of those rights that people should take the time to exercise in every election. Some people say they only vote in the “important” elections – when it is time to decide the next president. However, it is those other officials who have more of a say on what happens on the farm. For example, it is the municipal or county governments that will have the direct impact on the farm and community. 
    It is in the county courthouse and municipal buildings that decisions that affect our farms, roads and local conflicts are resolved. Voting, especially in a primary, does not take that long – maybe 15 minutes at the polling place. And those 15 minutes can have a lasting impact. Since I started voting at 18, there have been several races that were decided by fewer than 20 votes – and I like to think one of my votes was one of them. 
    In those tight races, I often think if only 21 of the other candidate’s supporters decided to vote, the race would have had a very different outcome.
    Why should farmers care? In my local township supervisor race, only one candidate in my party said that preserving the agricultural heritage of the township was important. I am not saying the others do not support agriculture, but only one believed that agriculture was important enough to state it as a political goal. That candidate received my vote. 
    If farmers want to secure a community that supports agriculture and its farms, one key to that success is at the ballot box. It is a time where those running for office can get a response as to what is important to the community. -- Charlene Shupp Espenshade, Special Sections Editor

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