I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. ~Alexander Woollcott
There are signs everywhere. Mailers. Candidates even walked the countryside neighborhoods, going door-to-door to introduce themselves and ask friends, neighbors and strangers to cast votes in their favor.
The republic is alive and well in Middle Tennessee.
This morning I chose one of my favorite tees — my "Live Free" tee featuring a beautiful American flag. I met my son at the door and we headed to our nearby polling location to participate in our county election and state primary.
It's a privilege and honor to vote – and I love owning my singular say.
Today, my son joined me in having his say in how his community is run — he voted for the first time.
He has a well-developed, strong sense of civic duty, as well as interest in community and world affairs. (Proud mom here.)
My son spent the summer coaching at a Jewish sleep-away sports camp so as life sometimes dictates circumstances, we were a bit more out of touch than usual and we had to spend a big chunk of time catching up on candidate voting records and platform views.
To that end, I've added a few ideas for staying informed about ballot issues — beyond following a quality news source or two every day:
• Visit your election commission website. Our election commission website, http://www.mcgtn.org/election/election-information, posts information about which government officials are up for election, how to register and meet deadlines in order to vote, candidate deadlines, a final list of qualified candidates including their contact information, the sample ballot to print and study before heading out to vote — and the early voting schedule.
• Vote early if you are going to be out of town or working long hours (hello journalists) on election day.
• Check out incumbents' voting records. All Congressional votes are recorded at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes.
• Meet your local candidates at picnics, community events and/or candidate forums. Most communities schedule forums beginning many months before election day. If you can't attend in person, watch via livestream or follow-up recording.
• Talk to your family and friends about community issues. I'm not advocating arguing. I'm advocating examining ideas from all aspects and angles to make sure you've well-considered the premises upon which you've built your opinions and ideas.
• Look for truly nonpartisan voting initiatives and check them out. Lately I've liked Project Vote Smart.
Be an informed voter.
Amy A. Ritchart encourages civic engagement and community involvement. She's adding several books to her Goodreads "to-read" list. Write her at email@example.com. Comment, click the heart to like or hit the share button below. Follow The Kavanah Life on Facebook and on Twitter @thekavanahlife.