Opinion

Voting a gift we shouldn’t waste | Editorial

A total of 3,813,536 residents in our state were registered to vote as of Oct. 3. Sadly, a fair number of them won’t vote Nov. 6 in our state and national election.

However, we’re pretty sure 45 people from this area will be sure to get their ballots in the mail. They are local immigrants who took the oath of citizenship Sept. 17 at Bellevue City Hall.

It is appropriate that this event was held in Bellevue as approximately 30 percent of the city’s 130,000 residents were born outside of the United States. The city’s mayor, Conrad Lee, himself is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China and offered welcoming remarks on behalf of the city. Another naturalized citizen, Bellevue Downtown Association boardmember Shiv Batra, welcomed participants on behalf of the downtown community.

Too many of us, it seems, forget what an honor and privilege it is to be able to vote freely for a candidate or issue without fear or government interference or retaliation.

Here in this state alone, only 72 percent of eligible adults were registered for the 2008 election and only 80 percent of them went to the polls. That leaves a lot of people who sat on the sidelines or didn’t care to have a key role in democracy.

The numbers seem to be getting worse. In 1952, 91 percent of eligible adults in our state were registered to vote. And 80 percent of them cast a ballot. It was even more difficult then: there wasn’t universal “vote by mail,” meaning most people had to get to a polling place on election day.

One of the strengths of our country has been the open arms it extends to people from around the world to come here and, if they choose, become citizens. Forty-five of them went to the effort to do that in Bellevue last month. Let’s show them the next step in their journey by joining them in voting in the Nov. 6 General Election.

 

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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