David Reynolds | Circle June 9

That’s a Tuesday. It is always a Tuesday when too few of us take time out of our daily lives in order to maintain our way of life.
Election days in the USA always fall on Tuesdays. Don’t ask me why. They just do. Or as we say in these parts, “We have always done it that way.” In the Commonwealth of Virginia we will have an election on Tuesday, June 9, 2009. If you are registered, you are invited. Please accept. 

I know what you are about to say, “It’s only a primary election. And it is only for Democrats.” Wrong on both counts!

All elections are important, whether the primary ones held this time of the year or the general elections held in the fall. In fact, when there is a single established controlling party, the primary one is the bigger one.

As for who can vote, in Virginia all elections are open. There is no official registration or limitation on voting by political party. That is the way it should be.

OK, let’s say you are a Republican. You don’t care who wins. All you care about is that your man, Bob McDonnell, the presumptive Republican candidate, wins on Nov. 3. But what if Bob loses? Would it not be nice to still have a say in who will be Virginia’s next governor? I think so. It is always good to have a second choice. You will have that choice on June 9. Will it be Mr. Moran, Mr. McAuliffe or Mr. Deeds?

Think of voting in primary elections as betting on a horse race, but with much higher stakes. If you only vote in November you are placing a “Win” bet. But if you vote in June and November you can, in effect, place both “Win” and “Place” bets. So, why put all your money on one horse? Or one candidate. And why not use the primary to influence a major political party — either yours or theirs? It makes sense to me.

And if you are a Democrat, voting on June 9 affords you with the opportunity to both shape your party and the Commonwealth.

Of course, if you don’t care who governs Virginia, you have wasted your time reading this column. Conventional wisdom has it that a gubernatorial primary is not as important as, say, a presidential primary. Think again. Who has the most influence on your state tax burden, your public safety, your state transportation system, health funding for the poor, promoting business and employment and, most importantly, the quality of the public schools your family selects? Think governor — not president.

In a couple of weeks we will turn our attention to three of the four candidates wishing to be our next governor. Two of those three are from Northern Virginia, or NoVa, my former home. The other one is from Real Virginia, or ReVa, my current home. As you gather, I have already voted. Not by absentee ballot, but with my feet. In the meantime, think about June 9. And the power you will have that day. But only if you act.

 

– Column by David Reynolds


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