Chapter 49. Every Vote Counts

"Voting is a sustained obligation that accompanies and protects the liberties we enjoy."

Voting is a universal language that's applied in a myriad of ways. It's a process that takes place for a Pope, Union Leader, Team Captain, CEO, and even for a Board of Directors. As a group of jurors, we vote for innocence or guilt; as judges, we vote for beauty queens; as family members, we vote for what or where we eat dinner; and as citizens, we vote for political leaders. While the range and significance of each vote is diverse, one constant remains: every vote counts.

The duties or responsibilities of a citizen in a Democratic society can be separated into two groups: mandatory responsibilities, such as paying taxes; and duties not demanded by law, such as voting. The right to vote is a duty and responsibility, as well as a privilege. Modern democracies, including the United States, extend this right (suffrage) to almost all responsible adult citizens. This inclusive voting right is known as universal suffrage. Indeed, "one person, one vote" is seen as a hallmark of representative democracy.

Abraham Lincoln best described democracy as "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." For that government to be "by the people," however, the people must decide who shall be their leaders. Without free and fair elections, there can be no democratic society. Without the constant accountability of government officials to the electorate, there can be no assurance ...

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