Last Tuesday morning at 7:30 I was off to a community relations meeting at the federal prison and Bunny was off to vote and then to work. Following my meeting, I automatically drove to the fire station in Salters to cast my ballot in the primary election. At 9:30 in the morning, I was # 90 and personally impressed that so many people had already voted in the Salters Community. However, I questioned the poll worker when my ballot brought up the district three council race. I was told the district lines had been redrawn, and I was now in district three. Having not been made aware of this change until the ballot came on the screen was somewhat troubling. It would have been nice to be notified of this adjustment prior to voting since I always try to be well-informed about the candidates on my ballot. Interestingly enough, no one else I spoke with in Salters voted in the district three race. In fact, it was a week later while Bunny and I were discussing the election that he told me the district three race was not on his ballot at 7:30 am. I understand that district lines are sometime at odd places, but I never realized they were drawn down the middle of a house. OK, Mr. Darby, since you are now my councilman, I am looking forward to you representing me.
Voting may have been elevated in Salters, Lane, and Central, but elsewhere in our county, voters neglected to show up and exercise their fundamental right to vote. Voter turnout in Williamsburg County is usually low, but for this election the percentage was increased to 35 percent. The people in this area should be mortified that 35 percent is a voter increase. I am not really good at math, but, if I understand correctly, out of every 100 eligible voters, only 35 voted? That means 65 people stayed home, forgot, or were just not interested. In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln called democracy “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” I guess that means we are not here to serve our government, but our government is here to serve us-- and we have the right to decide who will represent us. Basically, Americans have one of the greatest rights any free people can have: the right to vote. And most importantly, this privilege comes with the responsibility of investigating and understanding the platform of the candidates; rather than having to ask friends or family who to vote for, or, being instructed in how to vote. As I talked with residents who chose not to vote, the most underlining answer was that it really did not matter, they only had one vote and it would not make a difference. Have we already forgotten the Presidential Election of 2000 when every hanging chad in Florida was examined because each vote was critical? With last week’s senatorial election being one of the closest to date with a narrow margin of 80 votes, it is essential that everyone over the age of 18 become educated and involved in the election process. Remember the old adage, if you don’t vote, you should not complain. However if this were the case, some people I know would never have anything to say…
The excitement of political opinions was clearly evident as both sides on the senatorial race waited long into the night and for an entire week to find out the results. As a newcomer to the political scene, Mr. McKnight undoubtedly made a strong showing and should be commended. I do not know Mr. McKnight, but look forward to meeting him at some point.
On the other hand, I am quite aware of Senator McGill’s contributions to his home county of Williamsburg and appreciate his faithfulness to this area. Sometime ago, I attended a program where the senator was recognized for his achievements. The following is an excerpt from the presentation. “Senator McGill has brought many opportunities to Williamsburg County. It is said that the senator has a distinct ability to bring people together for improving education, health care, economic development, agriculture, tourism, recreation, and social change to improve the quality of life for those he serves. As a community we should be grateful for a local son who has dedicated his life to improving the district he calls home. For all he has done, and for the projects yet to be completed, we are truly thankful.”
The June primary is over and I am gearing up for the general election in November. As a dedicated voter and political junkie, I am already investigating those who want to represent me. Remember, it’s a government of the people, for the people, by the people.