“I don’t vote. My vote doesn’t matter, so why should I bother?”
There’s never been a time in our history where that statement has been so wrong. Today, your vote matters more than ever before, especially on state and local levels. We face an onslaught of what I can only describe as perversions of governance that have sprung from adherence to a blind ideology coupled with an absolute inability to compromise on any issue. I feel strongly enough about this that I’ve filed to run as a candidate for Montana House District 88. I’m running as a Democrat, but I’m no ideologue. Like so many citizens, I’m tired of inactivity and idiocy in the name of party. Following is an example: This year, Montanans will be presented on their ballots Legislative Referendums (LR) 126 and 127. LR 127 is meant to establish a “top two” primary election system. If you pass this, the result will be to limit the number of winning candidates in any Primary election to the top two vote-getters regardless of party affiliation. No more third parties on the ballot. You will have less choice, forcing you to either pick a candidate in whom you do not believe, or causing you to abstain from voting on a given race altogether. In short, you will be asked to take your own freedom away, and those who craft this language are hoping for exactly that result.
The second, LR-126, would end voter registration in Montana on the Friday before Election Day. Proponents argue that this will control voter fraud, even though there is no evidence that any significant amount of voter fraud has occurred in Montana. The other argument offered in support is that this LR will address the problem of very long lines of voters. This is ridiculous. Ending voter registration three days before the election is a blatant attempt at voter suppression. Deep down, we all know that.
My opponent in the race for House District 88 is an ardent supporter of both of these referendums. This is not the only place where he and I differ, but I’ll cover more as our race progresses.
What these changes represent to the voters of Montana is a pushback against our hard- won freedoms for the sake of controlling election outcomes. That is the fraud that we need to fight. This amazing experiment of a representative republic with which we’ve been blessed is not neat and tidy. It takes compromise and hard work both to operate, and to a much greater extent, to protect. It is not something that is to be trifled with for personal or political gain, no matter which side of the aisle is making that attempt. Many lives have been spent creating and protecting our representative form of government. That presents a huge responsibility that falls on all of us as citizens to protect what we’ve been given. How do we honor the sacrifices of those who came before us, as well as those that continue to serve our country in the name of preserving our way of life and our form of government? We are bound, as citizens, to fight every day to protect these freedoms they provide. We have that fight, and we honor those sacrifices by tirelessly participating in the process, and by encouraging all those we know to do the same.
Do we allow our legislators to water down the freedoms these brave people provide for the sake of allowing them to control the vote? That’s what this boils down to. This is no effort to protect the integrity of Montana’s elections. This has the exact opposite effect. This draws away the freedoms that we’ve been given and that, sadly, we too often take for granted. We all have a moral and civic obligation to register, and to vote. If you feel as I do that we can accomplish great things when we come together with a shared vision, then pick an area that matters to you and participate. Volunteer your time to help at the polls if you can, but at the very least, vote. Vote Republican, vote Democrat, Independent, Libertarian. Vote as you wish, but always remember that your vote counts very much to the people that made it possible for you to exercise that right. Watch a veteran stand at attention and salute as an American flag passes in a parade. To me, it’s awe inspiring, and shows clearly the depth of their love of country. I’m humbled when I witness it. We must fight to protect what they’ve provided and so respect. As American citizens, we owe that debt.
In my view, the goals pursued in the previously mentioned Legislative Referendums disrespect all those who brought these freedoms to us. They are Un-American.