All Elections Matter

     Georgia’s statewide general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Republican nominee Brian Kemp and Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams are among the gubernatorial candidates. Georgia’s candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives will also be on the ballot. One candidate will be elected from each of Georgia’s 14 districts – Georgia’s 3rd District services the West Georgia area. Other statewide offices will also be determined. If necessary, a runoff will take place on Dec. 4, 2018, and Jan. 10, 2019 for federal races.
     Although Georgia is coming off a nationally speculated special election between Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and Republican Rep. Karen Handel in 2017, generally these do not gain a fraction of the attention that a presidential election would.
     Potential voters may feel like their vote would not make a difference. Some may feel overwhelmed by the voting process in general. Students, veterans and others who are registered to vote elsewhere wonder how they can cast their ballot from miles away.
Local and statewide elections do not get the buzz of a national one because they simply do not have quite as much significance, but that does not mean that these do not have national implications. To those who think their vote does not matter, it is quite the contrary.
     These more localized positions create a more audible platform for individuals to be heard. National races are more significant because they affect more people, but these general elections deal with issues closer to home. Also, people from around the country cannot vote in these elections. Voters must cast their ballots in respect to the polling location in which they are registered. A voice is louder in a less crowded room.
     The race between Ossoff and Handel was the most expensive congressional campaign in history. The outcome was a key determiner of each party’s control in Congress, but only voters registered in Georgia’s 6th District were eligible to cast a ballot. Ossoff lost with 48.1 percent of the vote.
      Many who voted in the 2016 presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not need to register to vote because a voter’s registration remains active if they have voted in at least one general election every four years and have not changed any pertinent information, such as their address.
     Others can use an official state election office’s website to register with the information that can be found on a driver’s license. The local municipal clerk’s office also registers those eligible to vote until 5 p.m. or close of business (whichever is latest) on the Friday before election day.
     Absentee voting began with a focus on military and overseas voters outside of their legal voting residence. These ballots are handled by the federal government and are usually cast by mail-ins.
However, absentee and early voting have become a useful way for many citizens outside of their legal voting residence to cast their ballot. Mail-in and in-person absentee voting accommodates any voter unable to get to their polling location due to illness, injury or disability, vacations, business or attending college.
     The best place to view Georgia’s voting rules: check polling locations and register to vote is on the official state election office website. The municipal clerk’s office also provides this information. The Federal Voting Assistance Program is another useful tool to help potential voters through the process.
     Each vote cast in a governmental campaign holds significance. It represents decisions made from core values and principles the individual voter finds most important. People have differing ideas. Certain issues are more significance to some. Others never pick a side. Indecision is a decision within itself.



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