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[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]
Posted on May 31, 2001:
As Americans, voting is one of our most sacred rights. I recently attended several Memorial Day services in which those who died for our country were honored. They died defending Democracy. The hallmark of Democracy is the right to vote.
The majority of voters in my district have sent me most recently to the State Senate in Annapolis and in the past to serve you in Washington as a member of the United States House of Representatives. I was voted by my constituents to represent them and to vote for or against laws that I felt would be in the best interests of Southern Maryland. I appreciate your support more than you will ever know. After each election, I canít tell you how humbled I am to have been chosen to serve the constituents of Southern Maryland -- an area in which I grew up and love so much.
There is a group of people over the years who always maintain they want to vote for me, but refuse to register because they are afraid to be called for jury duty.
Well as of this year, that excuse no longer gets you off the hook. A recent law enacted by the General Assembly allows circuit court jury commissioners in Maryland to use both voter registrations and motor vehicle registrations through the Motor Vehicle Administration to beckon potential jurors to the courthouse.
Now, there is no reason not to vote. Voting gives you a chance to show your elected leaders how you feel about their performance in office. Think about all of the people in the world past and present who did not have the right to vote. Think about all of the atrocities committed by fascist and communist regimes who impose the will of the state on the people without their consent. Thankfully, we do not have this problem in the United States. I have recently received a slew of correspondence about a particular issue of concern to many people. They all end their letter or e-mails with a subtle warning: ďOh yes, and we DO vote.Ē
I get their message loud and clear. A vote is a decisive and important fundamental right that we should not take lightly. Now that people are eligible to be chosen for jury duty if they drive, instead of if they are just registered to vote, there is no reason to not join the millions of Americans who cherish their right to vote and do so faithfully every election.
For instance, a good friend of mine was recovering from heart surgery in a hospital bed just days before this past presidential election. His wife was deeply concerned that her husband would be too weak to get out to vote. My friend, who had tubes coming out of his nose at the time, said most defiantly that he would be there on Election Day to cast his vote. He came through on his promise.
And if we didnít realize how important voting was before the 2000 presidential election, we sure do now. President Bush won the White House with less than 600 votes. That election was won in Florida, one of the most populated states in the country. Six hundred votes is minuscule when you consider the millions of people who live in the Sunshine State. And President Bush finally received his concession from Vice President Gore only after more than a month of legal wrangling over the votes in Florida. Arenít we all sick of hearing the words ďhanging chads?Ē
Think of how all of the people who wanted President Bush to win, but didnít vote in Florida would have felt if their man had been beaten by former Vice President Gore. Now, think about all of the Gore supporters in Florida who didnít vote. Itís a pretty good bet that there were more than 600 Gore supporters who did not vote or did not bother to register who are pretty upset that their man isnít sitting in the Oval Office.
Jury duty is a disruption in our lives. But it is part of our Democracy we love so much. Now that county circuit courts can bypass voter registration rolls and use the much larger motor vehicle registrations, no one is ďsafeĒ from being chosen for jury duty.
So, you canít use the ďAs much as Iíd like to vote that bum out of office, I donít want to register because I donít want to serve on jury dutyĒ excuse anymore.
Again, voting is a sacred privilege that no one should bypass. In order to receive information how to vote in your county, simply call your election board. In Calvert, the election board numbers are (410) 535-2214 or (301) 855-1376. In Charles, the numbers at the election board are (301) 934-8962, (301) 934-8972 or (301) 870-3167. In St. Maryís, the number is (301) 475-4651.
Iíll see you at the polls come the next election!
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