Man opening mail in ballot

I overheard a group of teenagers talking recently about the fact that they will soon be approaching voting age. I was encouraged to hear excitement in their voices about the prospect of making their voices heard. I hope this excitement continues for them as they become voting citizens. As we approach Election Day on Nov. 5, here are three important reasons to vote.

It's a privilege

 

Many of those who came before us didn’t have the opportunity to take part in their communities in this way. It has only been a few decades that women and then racial minorities secured the right to vote. Many of our fellow humans who live elsewhere still do not enjoy this privilege.

When I attended a United States citizenship ceremony a few months ago, the first thing that many of the new citizens did was register to vote, right there at the conclusion of the ceremony. They took this task seriously as they waited in line to become the newest voters in our country. They, no doubt, felt the importance of this privilege and responsibility.

We're all affected

City council candidates will comprise most of our ballots in Utah County during this voting season. The people who we elect to sit in those seats will help make decisions that directly affect our lives.

How tax money is spent, approving city budgets and where to allow what to be built are just some of the decisions new or returning city councilmembers will make. I remember, years ago, sitting in a city council meeting in Pleasant Grove listening to a discussion about whether or not to allow a ball python breeding business in a residential neighborhood. They voted no.

Other decisions affect more citizens, such as how much of a city’s budget should be spent on roads maintenance and whether or not to allow accessory apartments in single-family residential areas. Whatever the decision is, they often affect all of us.

It's easy

Election Day 2019 is coming up, but many of us have already cast our votes, thanks to mail-in ballots. It wasn’t long ago that I would take a book to my polling location, knowing I might be waiting in line for a couple of hours. Mail-in ballots are so much easier. However, some voters may prefer to drop off their ballots in person. That’s also an option. It just matters that we vote.

For information about your city’s candidates, go to http://heraldextra.com/vote. For voter registration information and to find a polling location, go to vote.utah.gov.

Laura Giles is a long-time correspondent for the Daily Herald and a community member living in Pleasant Grove. She can be contacted at LauraCGiles@gmail.com.