OUR OPINION: Be a part of the future - vote today

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

We often stress in this space the importance of exercising our right to vote, especially when elections near.

But we feel we cannot stress enough the importance of each and every vote cast in today’s general election.

The race for U.S. President is, of course, the main course on what looks to be a hearty menu of options. Four years of campaigning have led to a race headlined by Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain and Democrat U.S. Sen. Barack Obama. Both men have done all they can to earn our votes. Today’s results will show if their efforts paid off.  If neither McCain or Obama are your candidate of choice, there are also a plethora of third-party candidates from which to choose as well.

Our state delegation in Washington could also change after today’s vote. Incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu could be unseated by current State Treasurer John Kennedy, a Republican. Meanwhile, residents in the northern reaches of Ascension may have their third new U.S. Representative in the past 10 months if either Republican Bill Cassidy or Independent Michael Jackson can usurp incumbent Democrat Don Cazayoux.

Locally, we will see if the parish will be allowed to purchase the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center via a proposed 20-year, 3 mill property tax. We will also decide two runoffs, 2nd Justice Court Constable and 3rd Justice Court Justice of the Peace.

Secretary of State Jay Dardenne has said he expects anywhere from a 70- to 75-percent voter turnout statewide for today’s election. He may be right on the money, as record-breaking early voting numbers last week give a good sign that today’s turnout will be equally strong.

In today’s hectic society, it can be easy to put off something like voting.  But something as powerful as casting your ballot deserves to have some time taken out of the day. The time will be well worth it when you could possibly be choosing the people tasked with leading our state and country for the next two to four years.

We respect everyone’s opinions on issues and candidates. Those opinions have gotten us to where we are today as a democratic society. There are other countries who dream of having the right to select their government. You can be a part of the direction our parish, state and country go for years to come.

No matter your belief or your personal preference, don’t let your right to choose your government go unused.