Editorial: Vote as if your country’s well-being is on the ballot

Every election in America is critical, whether at the national, state or local level. Voting is the engine that drives the democratic process. The oft-repeated expression “all politics is local” means that whom you vote for in your town or village matters, affecting the taxes you pay, the support services you need and what your community will look like going forward.

The ballot — and the ability to cast one easily — represents the foundation of American democracy. Politicians who maneuver to make voting difficult, or draw odd shapes on district maps to improve their chances, do so because they fear they can’t win if voting is straightforward and simple.

In America since 2020, one group that lost cried foul and claimed there was widespread cheating in the presidential election. Their philosophy is: If we win, it was a free and fair election; if we lose, the other side cheated. That is not how our system has worked since 1789. What are the motives of those who no longer respect our system?

It is no exaggeration to say the elections across the country on Nov. 8 are crucial to our country’s well-being. Proponents of the “Big Lie” are on the ballot in many states. Think about that: People who believe our process was rigged by foreign satellites and by voting machines that they say someone can somehow manipulate to change the tally are running for elected office.

There are also candidates on ballots across the country who describe the violent coup attempt of Jan. 6, 2021, as little more than a robust tourist day, when a few oddballs in strange-looking headdresses showed up in support of their leader. Some of those candidates voted not to accept the Electoral College vote that day.

Locally, there are no town or village elections this fall. We do have state and congressional elections on the ballot, and these are what makes Nov. 8 so critical.

Depending on whom you vote for, the ballot this fall is about everything from foreign policy — some Republicans and even some progressive Democrats sound as if they’d like to rethink American financial support for Ukraine — to the future of reproductive rights, how we deal with climate change and the basic operations of a free, fair and democratic system. Late in the day Tuesday, the progressives pulled back the letter.

Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, stated it very bluntly recently: Do not vote for any candidate who did not accept the results of the 2020 election. That is a good baseline to go by.

Early voting in New York begins Oct. 29. No one has to wait until Nov. 8 to cast a ballot. Early voting is already underway in many states across the country and it’s a great way to make voting easier for many who might have difficulty getting to the polls on Election Day.

Make a plan, as they say on television, and vote. The more eligible citizens who vote, the more vibrant our democracy. Vote like America itself, what we have been since 1789, is on the ballot. Vote.