As this year’s Election Season rolls around, it is as important as ever to remember that your vote counts!
That is the advice shared by Barbara Greenberg, JD, Magistrate Bedford Municipal Court, as she addressed this month’s edition of Normandy University at Normandy Senior Living in Rocky River.
She asked the residents there if they were registered to vote. Most hands went up. “That is a generation thing,” said Greenberg in response. She shared that young people today are more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant that in a general election. “Millennials will get involved in political things, and even campaigns, but still fail to register to vote. The younger the generation, the less likely they are to vote,” she said.
Voting, she said, should not be taken for granted. “The issue of elections started right after George Washington’s presidency,” she said. “People knew he would be the first president. But what about after that? The country had had just overthrown another government and we didn’t want another monarchy,” she noted.
The three-pillar structure of American government of judicial, legislative and executive branches was founded so no one faction would get more power than another. Articles 1 and 2 of the Constitution are dedicated to election procedures, granting each state two senators but a varying number of congressmen (based on population).
The Electoral College established a system where the popular vote would predicate the support of an entire state. “Winner takes all,” said Greenberg. “So every vote counts, one at a time.” In other words, a candidate could win Ohio by a landslide or by a single vote. “So your vote really counts – it is winner take all,” she said.
Constitutional amendments also attest to the evolution of voting – making eligible voters of former slaves, women and, more recently, 18-year olds.
Voters have had to be protected from Literacy mandates, poll taxes and gerrymandering – all strategies used to manipulate outcomes. Today, campaign financing poses yet another challenge to the democratic process: Are our candidates to be only those who can afford to run because they have the support of wealthy backers?
How important are state, local and judicial elections? Though less publicized, these offices impact more greatly what happens in your own back yard.
If you want to be an informed voter, watch more than one TV channel, read more than one newspaper and check out informational sites like www.Judge4Yourself.com to learn about the issues and candidates that impact your life.
“I believe our process works,” said Greenberg. “My vote, your vote, really counts. But we live in a winner take all world.”