Please read this, all the way to the bottom. It’s not long.
This is an election year in R.I., and those who whine and complain about the state of the state, cronyism, the lack of representation in the General Assembly and where-is-RI-heading-now – among other things – are coming out in droves.
And I think nearly 60 percent of the voting age population of Rhode Island is at fault.
Why? Because, according to U.S. Census voter participation data, this is the percentage of voting-age Rhode Islanders who fail to vote. Some 62 percent of us are registered to vote, but just less than 43 percent of us actually do it.
Not voting carries a variety of impacts. The full "will of the people" is not fulfilled. Over time, voting becomes seen as less and less of a public responsibility. Most importantly, smaller and smaller groups of voters get to decide who the rest of us get to vote for.
Tuesday is Primary Election day, and there are several important races on the ballot. There are both Republican and Democratic primaries for U.S. House of Representatives for those who want to keep or get rid of incumbent Rep. Jim Langevin; a contest among Republicans seeking to replace retiring State Rep. Bob Watson, and a Democratic primary among four individuals seeking to be among three to run in November for School Committee.
Many feel that primary elections aren’t the really important elections, that the Big One in November is the one to pay attention to. But if you don’t get through the primary, you don’t get to the Big One. And primaries are where it is decided if incumbents stay or go, and where the quality of the candidates in November is determined. And we in Rhode Island are pretty loud when it comes to either candidate quality or incumbent office-holders.
But it’s up to you to make the time and effort, and actually vote. Be a good example for your kids and your neighbors – don’t forget that they have to live with the results, too. The polls in East Greenwich – five of them – open at 8 a.m., and close 12 hours later. You can find out where you vote by going online to sos.ri.gov/vic. There are a lot of people who have worked hard to make sure you get a chance to have your voice heard.
The real deal is this: go vote on Tuesday, and make a stand. And if you don’t, please just shut up. Please stop complaining, and no whining allowed.
Because if you don’t vote, you have no one to blame but yourself.