Guest Columnist

Why you should vote

An information sheet about important dates sits on a table during AARP Iowa’s and the Latino Political Network’s “It’s Time to Vote” voter education meeting at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Iowa on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
An information sheet about important dates sits on a table during AARP Iowa’s and the Latino Political Network’s “It’s Time to Vote” voter education meeting at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Iowa on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Hundreds of thousands of Iowans are making their voices heard by casting a ballot in the November elections. Are you one of them? If so, thank you for voting. If you’re not, why not?

The United States of America is the greatest and freest country in the world because we give the power to our citizens to choose our elected leaders. As Abraham Lincoln famously said, “A government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The power lies with you. Elections are the best way to make sure your voice is heard. You have a say in promoting the values you cherish and helping candidates who represent those values get elected.

Some think their vote will not make a difference. They are wrong. Over the past decade, several races for seats in the Iowa Legislature were decided by a few dozen votes. There have been local elections where a single vote has determined the winner. Your vote does matter.

Hundreds of thousands of brave Americans fought, bled and died protecting our freedoms, including the right to vote and to have a say in our constitutional republic. Iowa sent more soldiers to the Civil War than any other state, in relation to population. No matter the conflict, throughout history Iowa’s brave men and women have stepped up in large numbers to defend our country. Honor them by voting.

It’s easy. You can vote in-person at the county auditor’s office or a satellite voting location through Nov. 5. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 6. Iowa has the second-longest polling hours in the nation. You can even register to vote on Election Day, with a photo ID and proof of residency.

This year is a soft rollout for Iowa’s voter ID laws. My office and county auditors have sent more than 140,000 Voter ID PIN cards to registered voters who do not possess an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID. If you did not receive your card or you misplaced it, call your county auditor’s office to receive a new one.

In 2018, if you are registered, but did not bring a valid ID to the polls, you can sign an oath of identity.

Voting is a civic duty. It also is an opportunity. Make your voice heard. Be a voter.

• Paul Pate is Iowa secretary of state

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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