One of the most basic freedoms we as United States citizens have is our right to vote, yet at least half of Americans registered to vote do not exercise their right on election day.

According to the Pew Research Center, only 56% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. In November of that year, the Census Bureau estimated there were 245.5 million Americans ages 18 or older, but only 157.6 million reported that they were registered to vote. 

While most of us agree high voter-turnout is essential to a healthy democracy, a vast majority of us do not make it to the polls. 

This election year, let your voice be heard. It’s not only a freedom outlined to you in the Constitution, but voting is your civic responsibility. It’s also your duty to be informed on current events and the governing body. By staying well-informed, we stand the best chance in casting ballots for the person who might bring significant change for the betterment of our country and our communities. 

Our country was founded on the belief that its government would serve its people and be run by the people. For that system to work, it’s important to remember local elections are just as significant as presidential elections. 

The ballot in Lawrence County includes not only the presidential race, the senate race, the 4th Congressional District state representative race and statewide amendments, but also local races that will be very important for the future of our county. Citizens will be deciding on the next Lawrence County schools superintendent. All of these positions are critical to the success of our county, our state and our nation. 

No matter who you support in any of the races, get out on Tuesday, November 3, and make your voice count. Be sure to head to the polls and take part in the most basic freedom you have as an American.

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