Your ‘vote’ needed after Election Day

Published 12:35 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poll watchers know that a wet day is bad for turnout, but even Mother Nature couldn’t rain on an engaged electorate Tuesday.

The wet stuff covered nearly all of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, but most precincts were reporting surprisingly good turnouts.

At the Adams County precinct where I cast my votes, the poll workers started the day ready to be bored. Rain combined with a bit of a dull ballot containing only one contested race was a formula for low turnout, they confirmed.

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But just after noon, nearly 200 people had voted and the workers reported few down moments.

Adams County Election Commissioner Larry Gardner confirmed that the turnout was higher than expected — something near 30 percent — all across the county.

Reports from across the wet state were the same.

Nationally, much of the country was dry and ready to vote.

With most betters putting their money on the Republicans, it’s easy to explain the high turnout.

An angry population unhappy with current leadership is motivated to do something about it.

For the Democrats out there, I’m sure all the talk of a Republican landslide is a bit of motivation to make your vote matter as well.

Even Facebook was ticking off the number of its users who reported voting. The number had surpassed 7 million by 5 p.m.

The outcome is good, either way.

The electorate is the most important part of our country’s governmental system.

And it’s time for the people of America to accept responsibility for all the things we complain about daily.

Blaming the economy, health care, housing prices, taxes, lack of services and more on Washington, D.C., is wrong. It’s the people who elect those in D.C. who make the decisions.

It’s the people who can put the country on the right path, from Washington, D.C., to little ole Natchez and Vidalia.

Grumblings about some of our own leaders have reached fever pitch lately, but what are you doing about it?

Would you sign up to run for county supervisor, aldermen or even mayor?

Do you know someone out there who would be a top-notch leader? Have you given them the nudge to put their hat in the ring when local qualifying begins?

Do you send letters and e-mails to your state representatives sharing your opinion?

These are tough questions, and most of us would have to answer “no.”

Politics isn’t for everyone, but everyone must be involved to make the American political system work.

As easy as it is to point to Washington, D.C., City Hall and the state capitol and complain, doing so only points the finger back at you.

As Americans, we are all responsible for the state of our country.

It seems a few million people realized that Tuesday, thankfully, but if we expect to get on the right path that engaged electorate must stay engaged in between election days. That’s difficult to do.

Part of being an American means we love OUR lives. We get too wrapped up in the things we feel we must get done, and too often that doesn’t include even the smallest level of civic involvement.

Until we change that, from the smallest towns up, our votes won’t make much of a difference after Election Day is over.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or