October 17, 2011
On my way to lunch today, I happened to walk past the government center and, despite the fact I had written a story in today's paper about the start of early voting, noticed the "vote here" sign displayed near the main entrance to the building.
It was enough to side track me right into the building and up to the second floor where two nice elections office people met me to get signed in to vote.
Within five minutes I had signed in, been given my little yellow card -- enter appropriate or not-so-appropriate soccer references here -- and been directed to one of several open voting machines just waiting to allow me to cast my votes and under a minute after that, was headed out of the elections office having fulfilled my constitutional responsibility as an American citizen to vote.
Politically speaking, it's an off year even for off years. There are no state offices up for consideration. Our congressional delegation is sitting safely in their offices today, with no worries about last-minute campaigning.
The only race that all city residents will even have the ability to vote on is the mayor's race and even that race is restricted to city residents only.
But you better believe that this year's races will have an impact on the average citizen moreso than even next year's presidential election.
There is little that Barack Obama or Rick Perry of Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain can do that will have an impact on the day-to-day living of people in Albany; the same can't be said for our city commissioners.
On any given month we're literally four-votes away from the creation or reversal of policies that will impact how you're able to run your business, how much your garbage bill is, how much your taxes are and how maintained your roads are.
And this year, residents within the city -- depending in which district they live -- will decide how three of those four votes shake out.
For mayor, Ward II, Ward IV and Ward VI; the seats are all up for grabs.
So get informed and get active. Contrary to popular belief I would argue that voting is not a right. It's not some priviledge drafted up by Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin; it is, instead, every freedom-loving American's obligation. It's payment for services rendered, or, in some cases, not rendered.
So be an American. Occupy the ballot box and go vote. It's easy.