Ken Plum: Elections matter
I know it is a safe assumption that readers of this column are regular voters. There is no need for me to carry on about the importance of voting, how elections matter, etc. You get it, but it is a bit shocking and disappointing to realize the small percentage of people who do. If history provides any indication, the election next Tuesday, November 3, will attract just 30 percent or less of registered voters. In this election cycle four years ago, 28.61 percent of registered voters actually went to the polls. In 2007 the percentage got to 30.2. Only in presidential election years do substantial majorities of registered voters get to the polls–72 percent in 2012 and 75 percent in 2008. Of course none of these numbers take into account those who do not bother to register to vote.
Those of us who are active voters can help others in the process. There are 19 different reasons for which an absentee ballot can be cast before the election. Check out the details at Absentee Voting and refer others to this site that also includes information on electronic applications for an absentee ballot. The deadline for a mail-in absentee ballot to be received by the Office of Elections is Election Day, November 3, by 7:00 p.m.
Of course it is important to know for whom one is voting. I mailed a voter guide to my constituents a couple of weeks ago including my recommendations on candidates, and most recently I mailed a postcard with the Reston Team of myself, Senator Janet Howell, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, and School Board member Pat Hynes asking for support and listing our recommendations for other offices on the ballot. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. The Connection newspaper will print candidate profiles, and the League of Women Voters has information supplied by candidates at their website, www.lwv-fairfax.org/VOTERSGUIDE.html.
Once again some of the campaigns have taken on an unfortunate tone. I do not remember television ads in the Washington media market ever being used at all in House of Delegate races because of their expense, but this year there is an effort to mislead voters into believing that Delegate Kathleen Murphy in McLean and candidate Jennifer Boysko in Herndon support $17 tolls which they have made clear they do not support nor do I know anyone who supports $17 tolls. Equally as concerning is a campaign being run by the Traditional Values Coalition against at-large School Board members Ryan McElveen, Ilryong Moon, and Ted Velkoff who I as a retired educator feel have been doing an excellent job. The Traditional Values Coalition is an anti-LGBT group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
Thank you for your participation in the electoral process. Take a few minutes to talk with your friends and neighbors about voting on November 3. Election outcomes do matter.
Ken Plum is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.