Don’t stop at the Top: Your choices up and down the ballot make government work

Since its inception, since we got here as a nation, America has been about the right to allow its citizens to pick and choose our best and most qualified people for public office. We took a while to get here. We started out with some states allowing only white male adult property owners to vote, with non-whites and women and non-property owners on the outside looking in.

The fact is, we fought and died to figure this out, and here in 2020 we still have some sorting out on the details to go, but the idea of government for the people by the people is coming up on 300 years and that concept … that democracy ... is undeniably one of the world’s greatest achievements. We wanted our voices to be heard and our national decisions to be made as a collective body — we wanted the personal freedom to choose. From the start, from the businessmen and merchants in the new cities, to the farmers in developing rural areas, ‘We the People’ select delegates who represent our causes, concerns and needs in our individual areas of the country. On November 3, we the people will pick who will speak for us, from president to city clerk.

Make it all count

The focus of the upcoming November General Election is zeroed in on who will become our next president. Of course. But there are so many other essential decisions that need to be made in this election. Decisions that will affect our work, and our financial and personal lives at the local, regional and state level.  Decisions that must be made by us: the folks who understand the uniqueness of our regions, brothers and sisters who work closely with people in our communities, and who may someday become the person who is chosen to lead this nation.

We must all understand the candidates in our states and districts and know where they stand on issues that impact our lives. And then, make our selections up and down the ticket based on their records. We must look to the ballot not only as a way to select the nation’s leader, but all of the individuals representing us, knowing us, and standing beside us in our workplace and communities.

This November 3, don’t just vote for the top of the ticket. Vote up and down the ticket.

Here are a few reasons why:

So much of our lives is decided by federal, state and local courts. According to Ballotpedia, 35 states are holding state supreme court elections in 2020. In total, 78 of the nation’s 344 state supreme court seats are up for election. Thirty states are holding intermediate appellate court elections. There are 200 seats on intermediate appellate courts up for election.

Just as who we choose as President of our nation will impact our daily lives, the people we put in judicial seats will be making crucial decisions on every level with far-reaching effects.

And then there are Congressional and state representatives and senators. A total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) are up for election on November 3, including two special elections for the U.S. Senate.

Not to mention your local offices like commissioners, trustees and school boards in your community. These are the people who live and work in your cities and towns. They are your neighbors and they will have a say in your lives.

The further down the ballot you vote, the more you’ll see how your voice can impact day-to-day decisions. Everything from road repairs to police budgets to school curriculums. The farther down the ballot you go, the closer to home you get. You are selecting officials who are also more accessible, who know your community, and can get things done.

And it is easy to vote. Much easier and much more accessible than in 1776. This year, you have many options. You can vote by mail, absentee ballot, or in person. If you are not sure if you’re registered to vote, it’s so simple to check. Just go to I will vote and click on Check If I’m Registered to Vote. Follow the prompts and you’ll either be able to confirm your registration or register to vote. Polling places and mail-in drop boxes are also available on this site.

But whatever you do — be informed, and VOTE!

Make your voice heard from every corner of this great country of ours.

I thank you.

In Solidarity,
Rory L. Gamble