Get A Grip: 'There's no reason not to vote'

For some reason I am always hopeful.

As every election day rolls around I'm always hopeful that Americans will recognize their birthright and take five minutes out of their day to vote.

On Tuesday I was again hopeful as the city primary election got under way.

The Miner had extensively interviewed all of the city council candidates and provided plenty of information for voters.

If you read the newspaper regularly, you would have seen pictures of all of the candidates and learned their positions on the major issues facing the city today.

Other media outlets also provided information about the five candidates for city council.

But when I went to vote Tuesday afternoon at the Powerhouse, there were more election workers in the room than voters.

And then on Wednesday morning I saw the turnout results.

Only 13.7 percent of the city's eligible voters took the time to vote on Tuesday.

13.7 percent.

I thought the 20 percent turnout at the last city election was bad but 13.7 percent I find shocking.

Last week the African nation of Zimbabwe held an election for president.

Voters mobbed polling stations in their eagerness to exercise their right to vote.

The election proved chaotic and observers say its results are suspect, and the comparison of a presidential election to a city election is hardly parallel, nevertheless, the visual dichotomy between the scene in Zimbabwe and the scene here in Kingman sticks in my mind.

On television I saw images of Zimbabweans lined up for hours before polling stations opened.

In Kingman I saw a bunch of elections workers sitting and waiting for mobs of voters who never came.

There are many issues in which we Americans disagree and I feel very strongly that these differences and debates are what make us strong.

But there is one issue on which I think we should be united and that issue is voting.

There is simply no excuse not to vote.

Complaining that you don't have the time or your vote doesn't really count or you don't have enough information or you don't want to get jury duty (which has nothing to do with registering to vote, by the way) are all feeble excuses.

In my mind, unless you are so sick you are unable to get out of bed, there's no reason not to vote.

Transportation could be a problem for some but I know that members of political groups in town are always happy to drive those who cannot drive themselves to a polling place.

All you have to do is call and ask.

Today I am mad at every registered voter (and those eligible to vote who don't even register) who failed to cast a ballot on Tuesday.

I'm angry with you.

You are letting your country down at a time when it's even fashionable to be patriotic.

If you are flying a U.S.

flag, you have disgraced it if you did not vote Tuesday.

Take it down.

It's not yours.

I know these are harsh words but I am angry.

In this uncertain world we have a small amount of power and a huge responsibility.

It takes very little time and effort to vote yet it means so much.

Our entire government is based upon the simple principle of a vote for every citizen.

People have died for this right and even today, around the world, people fight for the right to vote.

For those who fight, for those who have died, show them some respect on the next voting day.

Vote.

To those of you who did vote on Tuesday, thank you.

Thank you for your patriotism.

Thank you for having an opinion and expressing it.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to cast a ballot.

Thank you for taking exercising your birthright.

Thanks are also due to the candidates.

Having candidates is clearly critical to voting.

The candidates provided us with choices and in doing so put themselves in the bright glare of the public eye.

This is no easy thing to do and I applaud every one of them for putting themselves out there.

Thank you.

For the other 86.3 percent of you, please, don't let this happen again.

Abbie Gripman is the news editor for the Miner.