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Our Opinion: Nabbing new voters

January 22, 2002

A major primary election is right around the corner. We are going to seat county supervisors, Imperial Irrigation District directors, a county sheriff and deal with critical state and federal races along with local elections.

It's essential that people get out to vote, to voice their opinions and play important roles in our local, state and federal governments.

Unfortunately, there are large numbers of people in Imperial County who qualify to be registered voters but are not. That means they do not take part in the democratic process. That needs to be rectified and there are people working in the Imperial Valley to do something about it.

Voter registration campaigns that target the Hispanic community are under way throughout the Imperial Valley. We support such efforts. We have a sense there are people out there who may not know how to vote or even that they have the right to do so.

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Getting large numbers of people to vote is how we make sure those voted into office truly represent the needs of the constituents they serve. If Imperial County does not have a strong voice in state and federal elections, those elected may not truly concern themselves with the needs of the Valley.

Counties with weak voices tend to be forgotten. In recent years as more and more local people have voted and the Hispanic community has taken more of a role in the election process, our state and federal leaders have started to pay more attention to our needs. In essence, we have not allowed anyone to forget us.

To all those who are registered to vote but have opted not to do so in the past, we urge you to reconsider. Your vote does count. And time is running short to register for the upcoming election.

There are few other occasions when we the people can show our power than during elections. It is the time when we get to say who leads us, who stays in power and who is replaced. It is a time when we decide if we want to spend our money or change laws.

If you do not vote, you still have a right to question your government and those who serve you, whether at the local, state or federal levels. But by not voting you will have allowed a key opportunity to pass and that is a waste of our democracy.

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