Monday, November 05, 2001

Voting is sign of patriotism




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        On Tuesday, remember Sept. 11. Vote. Think of what went on that morning when America changed forever. Honor the victims by voting. It'll strike a blow for freedom.

        By plane and through the mail, terrorists have attacked America's freedoms. There is no more fundamental American freedom than the right to vote.

        When we change our government, we don't take to the streets. We go to the polls.

        We don't shoot guns. We mark ballots.

        Voting separates us from those who live in caves.

        Yet, it looks like Osama bin Laden is going to win on Election Day.

        A majority of registered voters will likely be no-shows at the ballot box.

Numbers game

        For Election 2001, the numbers look bad. Pathetic. Unpatriotic.

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Check candidates and issues in four counties
        Projections indicate that the odd-year, off-year rule — predicting low voter turnout — will again apply.

        Butler County expects a 35 percent to 40 percent turnout. Warren County predicts 41 percent. Hamilton County made no official prediction. But based on past odd-years' results, a voter turnout percentage in the 40s would not be a shock.

        Bob Mosketti, director of Butler County's Board of Elections, based his projections on the number of requests for absentee ballots.

        “Requests are numbering what we get for a 35 to 40 percent turnout,” he said. Inquiries about how to vote, where to vote, are “steady, not abnormally high.”

Flag waving

        Since Sept. 11, shows of patriotism have been on high alert. Flags wave from tall buildings. The Stars & Stripes flies on cars. Old Glory is pinned to lapels, stuck on windows, glued to wrappers of Halloween candy, displayed at ballgames.

        Patriotic songs are sung from the steps of Congress to Fountain Square, during the World Series' seventh-inning stretch and between commercials on late-night talk shows.

        Hundreds of millions of dollars have been donated to heal the wounds America has suffered since the terrorist attacks. Thousands of good Samaritans have stepped forward to help.

        Wave the flag. Sing those songs. Donate time and money. That shows American pride.

        Just don't forget to go to the polls on Tuesday. True patriots vote.

        “You hear people ask what they can do to help,” said Bev Moore, director of Warren County's Board of Elections.

        “They can help by voting. That shows they're not taking this fundamental freedom for granted.”

        Tuesday's weather, then, cannot be used as an excuse for skipping this exercise in democracy.

        Everyone I spoke with at area boards of elections noted that rain, snow and cold temperatures lower the vote count.

        I'm sure the U.S. troops in Afghanistan would gladly march through a monsoon or mush into the teeth of a blizzard just to vote at home.

        No matter what weather Mother Nature delivers to the Tristate on the first Tuesday in November, Bob Mosketti remains optimistic. Despite his projections, he insists every Butler County precinct will be stocked with enough ballots and “I Voted Today” stickers for a turnout of 100 percent.

        “After what went on Sept. 11,” he said, “we're hoping for a surprise.”

        Me, too.

        Be an all-weather patriot.

        Vote.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at cradle@enquirer.com; 768-8379; fax 768-8340. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/radel

       



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