It doesn’t matter if the lines are long.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t love every candidate.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand every issue.
Voting is a sacred right denied to many in this world.
Voting is a sacred right once denied to everyone in this country except for white men with land, property or money.
You really don’t have any good excuse not to vote. Voting has never been easier.
1. You can vote on Election Day, Nov. 3.
2. You can vote in person right now at a board of elections. In Ohio, you can vote right now in person on weekdays until Election Day. At the end of October, you can also vote on Saturday and Sunday.
3. You can vote by mail and track your ballot to make sure it got counted.
This is an important election. Ohio is at play. We’re the king in this game of chess.
Ohio knows how to pick a winner. Since 1944, Ohio selected the losing candidate only once, when Republican Richard Nixon lost to Democrat John F. Kennedy in 1960. Also, no Republican has ever won a presidential election without taking Ohio.
Both political parties call Ohio a battleground state.
So, prepare for battle before you vote.
The website of the Ohio Secretary of State at ohiosos.gov/elections is the place for information on voting. No matter how you plan to vote, visit this website to prepare. It has everything you need.
Go there and check the status of your voting registration. Find your polling location to make sure it hasn’t moved. View a sample ballot, so you have time ahead to plan how to vote. Learn what type of ID is required to vote so you bring the right one. You can also get answers about provisional ballots and other issues.
You can even volunteer to be a poll worker and be a true guardian of democracy.
Go to this website before you vote. Do it today.
And vote now. Don’t wait until Election Day.
This has become election month. You have an entire month to cast your ballot.
I completed my absentee ballot and hand-delivered it to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. If you mail yours, put 70 cents postage on it. Mail it today. Don’t wait until November.
You can still get your “I Voted!” sticker on your smart phone or digitally download a sticker.
Voting in person used to be fun, but might not be so this year, with all the COVID-19 precautions. Yes, it’s emotionally moving and patriotic to vote with everyone, but that could be risky during a pandemic.
If you do choose to vote on Election Day, expect lines. Charge your phone. Bring water. Wear a mask. Bring hand sanitizer. Bring water and a snack. Stay 6 feet away.
If you have to wait, do so with gratitude for all those who fought and died for this sacred right, so you could have this sacred voice.
While you’re waiting, think about Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney. They went to Neshoba County, Miss., to register Black voters during Freedom Summer and never returned. All three were murdered.
While you’re waiting, think about Viola Gregg Liuzzo, who was shot and killed March 25, 1965, in her car. She was driving to pick up another group of marchers from the Selma-Montgomery march in Alabama.
It’s hard to whine about waiting when you think of people like Jimmie Lee Jackson, whose grandfather and mother were beaten over the right to vote. Jackson tried to protect them and was shot to death. His murder inspired the first Selma voting rights march we call “Bloody Sunday.”
Think of all those marchers “law enforcement” officers attacked with billy clubs and tear gas on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Think about all those arrested and harmed trying to get voting rights for women.
In that great Declaration of Independence, the founders of our country pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. All you’re being asked to do is vote.
Do so mindfully.
Read a variety of legitimate news sources. Unsure about all the judges on the ballot? If you live in Cuyahoga County, go to judge4yourself.com and see how independent nonpartisan bar associations ranked them. In Franklin County, visit judgethecandidates.org. You no longer have to play the name game or throw darts at the ballot.
The right to vote is the foundation, the bedrock, of our democracy.
Your vote is a brick in the wall. Use it.