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Voting Is An Important Responsibility of Citizenship

This article originally appeared in KRWG.   Anyone tired of sound-bite politics and candidates who avoid the issues can always find alternatives?  Reading the newspaper and searching for information on the web- candidate profiles, issues, stories and other election news- are always ways to educate yourself before voting.  For people who want to see and judge the candidates in person, there are also the all-important candidate forums.

Voters can head out to the Las Cruces City Hall on October 7 and 14 (6:00 - 8:00 p.m.) to see and hear candidates at the League of Women Voters Candidate Forums.  In person, voters will be able to write down the questions they care about and see how candidates think (or don't) on their feet.  With so much electioneering taking place in the form of TV ads, these forums offer a great opportunity to get beneath the surface of these slick, scripted presentations.

On October 7, candidates for County offices will be featured.  These include not only the candidates for County Commissioner, but also County Assessor, Sheriff, Magistrate Judge and Probate Judge.  For our Spanish-speaking residents, simultaneous translation is being provided at both forums.

On October 14, State Representatives from within Doña Ana County will speak and answer your questions.  In case you miss a forum, you can watch them on Comcast Cable Channel 20 until Election Day. 

The League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces is conducting these forums.  It is all part of the League’s continuing efforts to engage citizens in the civic affairs of the community and nation. Information and education- about policies not politics- are key to knowledge-based voting.

Additionally, the League is also publishing a Voters Guide for the election - look for it in The Las Cruces Sun News on October 5 as well as community gathering places such as the library.  The League’s questions and the candidate answers in the Voters Guide are meant to explore candidates' backgrounds and opinions in a nonpartisan manner.  The guide also explains the constitutional amendments and the government obligation bonds on the November ballot so that voters can make informed decisions on those as well.  An edition in Spanish will also be published.

We in the United States often take our right to vote for granted.  We too often cast votes out of reaction to fear campaigns or because one candidate is charismatic, rather than because of our knowledge of issues or our beliefs in a candidate's experience or leadership abilities.  Or some of us don't vote at all, showing little regard for the sacrifices made so that we could choose our own leaders.  Whether soldiers dying on the battlefield to maintain our freedoms, suffragettes being jailed so that women could win the vote, or Freedom Riders heading South to extend access to the ballot to African Americans, our ancestors sacrificed.  Voting should be precious to all of us.

Show that you understand how essential the right to vote and the act of voting is to a free people.  Get informed.  Understand the issues.  Voting starts on October 7 and ends with the General Election on November 4.  Voting is more than a right. It is a responsibility of citizenship.


Erika Graf-Webster-President, League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces.