Editorial: Exercise your right to vote Nov. 4

The 2014 Texas gubernatorial election, in which we will select our next governor, will take place Nov. 4. Texans may cast their votes among Republican Greg Abbott, Democrat Wendy Davis, Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party candidate Brandon Parmer.

Unfortunately, a large number of people do not appreciate the importance of voting. Whether they believe their vote will not matter, that they cannot register easily or that they just don’t think it’s worth the effort, a shocking number of potential voters will not be visiting the polls next month.

Too many Americans fail to take advantage of their right to vote. In the 2012 presidential election, 58 percent of those eligible to vote went to the polls. State and local elections traditionally draw far fewer participants.

Democracy is a privilege, and it is being sorely underutilized among scores of otherwise perfectly capable voters.

Most of us can only imagine what it would be like to be unable to cast our vote. Though historical events such as the Jim Crow laws and the battle for women’s suffrage took place less than a century ago, it is but a distant memory for the majority of the population – something to read about in a textbook and nothing more.

But people are still fighting for their right to vote all around the world.

Thousands flooded the streets of Hong Kong last week, protesting the selection of government-approved candidates for chief executive rather than candidates nominated by the public. Members of the movement have been beaten and detained indefinitely. The movement earned the name “Umbrella Revolution” after many protesters were forced to carry umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas.

You may think your vote doesn’t matter. But how many other people believe the same thing? Votes add up. Elections can provoke change. The United States of America was built on the concept of democracy. Participate. Vote Nov. 4.

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