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Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport - Register to Vote

Madhu Sridhar

MA State Primary - Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Last day to register to vote for the State Primary - August 28
MA State Election - Tuesday, November 5, 2002
Last day to register to vote for the State Election - October 16

"It's not the hand that signs the law that holds the destiny of America, it's the hand that casts the ballot." - President Truman

We all yearn to make a difference, whether it is by raising good children, inventing new microchips, or casting the right vote. The right to vote is fundamental in a democratic society. Our nation's democratic system is founded on an abiding principle: the consent of the governed. We give our consent whenever we participate in the democratic process. One of the most basic and important ways we give our consent is by casting our vote.

Too many people mistakenly believe that what happens on Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill has nothing to do with their lives. The everyday lobbying, legislating, deal making and voting have a tremendous impact on everything - from the school our children attend to our retirement and health care. We have a say in our community, state and country's future. Whether we take advantage of that opportunity is up to us.

Educational and economic opportunities in America have attracted scores of Indians. Indian Americans have a strong and visible presence in practically all areas. More and more foreign-born Indians, eligible to become citizens, are going through the naturalization process. However, many choose not to fully invest in the political process. Public policy can be influenced with informed and active participation in government. Collective electoral power can help bring improvements we seek for our community. Elections provide an opportunity to leverage our vote to make elected officials accountable to our communities and its needs. The right to vote means nothing if people are not registered and do not vote.

The deadline to register for the state primary was August 28th but the deadline for the general election to be held on November 5th is October16th. If you are not already registered, register to vote so that you can make your voices heard by casting your vote. The web address below will answer any question you may have to exercise this right. It is the site for Massachusetts Elections Division, Secretary of the Commonwealth. http://www.state.ma.us/sec/ele/eleidx.htm Democracy is not a spectator sport. Let's Make Democracy Work.

(Madhu Sridhar currently serves on the board of League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. She was the past president of the Andover League of Women Voters. )

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