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COMMENTARY ARCHVES
   

OCTOBER COMMENTARY
by Share Brandt

Exercise Your Privilege

I take my voting privileges very seriously. I consider it my right and responsibility to cast my vote in elections. I hope you do too.

It wasn't until August 18, 1920 that Amendment 19 to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote and to stand for electoral office was ratified. Women organized beginning in 1848 to win the right to vote by establishing women's suffrage campaigns in several states. After a brief break from suffrage activities during the Civil War, the National Women's Rights Committee issued a petition asking Congress to amend the Constitution. It took decades of petitioning and picketing, many of the original organizers did not live to exercise their right.

Near the end of World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and U. S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. During the conference the leaders agreed to ask for Germany's unconditional surrender and to begin plans for a post-war world. Stalin also agreed to permit free elections in Eastern Europe. Initially these agreements were kept secret and then the American Soviet wartime cooperation denigrated into the Cold War. Stalin broke his promise for free elections and proceeded to install governments dominated by the Soviet Union.

There are many other countries around the world that do not allow citizens to vote in free elections. We bear witness each day to a world full of unrest for lack of freedom. We in the United States of America not only have our freedom, we have our voice. No matter how dysfunctional our government may appear in the news it is still the best government in the world. Please take the time this November 4 to exercise your privilege to vote for your next round of local, state, and national leadership.

Getting to the Polls

In America our right to vote is protected by the Constitution of the United States. All we as citizens need to do is register to vote in your city municipal clerk's office. You can do that in person at clerk's office, by mail using the Voter Registration GAB-131 form available for download at www.gab.wi.gov, or at the polling place. If you choose to register at the polling place you must bring proof that you reside at your current residence. A current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card, a real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year, a current utility bill, or bank statement are among the documents that constitute residency.

Next, show up at the polling place and check in with the poll workers to receive your ballot. If you prefer to vote absentee or are unable to go to the polls on Election Day you can request an absentee ballot. If you are a registered voter you can request the "Application for Absentee Ballot" GAB-121 form online at www.gab.wi.gov. Fill out the form and mail it to your city clerk's office. Your request must be received in your city clerk's office by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday before Election Day in order for your absentee ballot to be sent to you. Your completed absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day and be received in your city clerk's office no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday after the election. Another option is early voting in the city clerk's office on weekdays for two weeks prior to the election (October 20-31, 2014) during regular business hours.

See you at the polls!

 

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