Registering to vote is way to have voice

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

Similar to what ministers tell the audience at a wedding, Lawrence County and Ironton voters must "speak" now or forever hold their peace.

Instead of speaking with their voice, the community will have the chance to speak with its votes in the Nov. 8 election - if residents are registered. Anyone who wants to hit the polls must make sure they are registered by Oct. 11.

Choosing our elected leaders is a fundamental part of our democratic government. If new voters do not take the time to register or past voters do not bother to show up and cast their ballots, our system fails to function as it was meant.

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Some people will try to say that this election is not as important because it does not have a presidential candidate on the ticket. That could not be farther from the truth.

The 2005 election could arguably be considered one of the most important elections in Ironton's history and could be equally important for the rest of the county. Voters must weigh in on these issues - or they have no room to criticize future decisions.

In Ironton, voters will be asked to choose a new municipal judge, two school board members and four city councilmen. All these positions are crucial to how the city operates and what decisions will be made for the future of the children.

City council has been especially criticized in recent months for various decisions. Now is time to make a decision on that leadership. Voters must put who they believe will be the best candidates into office.

But for city voters, the three local issues may be the most important decisions they face. The ballot includes a $10 per month municipal fee which some city leaders say is vital to Ironton's survival, the floodwall levy that protects the city from massive flooding comparable to New Orleans and the school tax bond levy that will decide the face of education in the city for decades to come.

All across the county, the importance can be seen. Numerous township trustees are up for election. In most rural areas, the trustees become the residents' only real form of local representation that can address their unique problems.

In each community, at least two school board members are up for election. What could be more important than the decisions affecting the children?

Now is time to make sure your voice is heard. Voters who speak now will hear their echo for years to come. Those who don't will be greeted with their own silence.