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Originally published: 2014-04-28 09:30:29
Last modified: 2014-04-28 09:31:14

Our View: Voting matters

As we look ahead to our May 6 primary elections, and further to the November general elections, the question arises: Does my vote matter?

To answer that forward-looking question, it is necessary to look behind -- to July 2, 1964, and Aug. 6, 1965, the respective dates of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

This year will mark 50 years that discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin was made illegal in the United States.

Next year, that same anniversary will highlight the law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson which prohibits discrimination in voting by enforcing the voting rights guaranteed through the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution.

Does my vote matter?

Indeed, it mattered so much five decades ago that individuals were willing at great personal risk to ensure that in 2014 your vote would not only be counted, but would count for something.

The right to vote is the foundation from which our government is built. And now, two days since the beginning of early voting, already in Watauga County hundreds of people have contributed to that building.

Watauga County Board of Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges noted the strong start and expects a successful early-voting season, which ends May 3 at each of the five early-voting sites in the county.

Yes, your vote matters. It is as important as each of those already cast, whether you cast that vote early or on May 6. Indeed, some primary races will effectively declare the outcome of the general election, making each primary vote all the more critical.

The right of all eligible voters to vote was guaranteed nearly 50 years ago. That's a thought worthy of reflection -- and a trip to the ballot box.