Today, we urge Utahns to cast an informed vote.
Although The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (who owns this papers) is neutral on matters of partisan politics, it is by no means neutral when it comes to encouraging citizens to engage in the political process:
“As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy,” the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement last month. “Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.”
In addition to encouraging Church members to “spend the time needed to become informed about the issues and candidates” the First Presidency noted that “Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles.”
Learning about the issues and casting an educated ballot is not only an important act that helps determine who will govern, adjudicate and enact laws, but is also an expression of support for the principles of self-governance and suffrage.
This week in 1620, a group of religious exiles huddled in the confines of their seaworn ship to “covenant” and “combine” into a “civil body politic” in order to create and obey “equal laws.”
The Pilgrim’s Mayflower Compact adumbrated the U.S. Constitution and today is, in the words of historian Nathaniel Philbrick, “symbolic of the literary culture Americans would become — a people who would write down their beliefs on paper and then sign it."
Millions of Americans carry on this tradition by turning their beliefs into ballots. Yet, sadly, even in presidential year far too few participate.
We need not detail the Florida fiasco — with its infamous recounts and dimpled chads — to emphasize that every vote counts. Additionally, when America elects a president, they’re not just voting for a single individual or ticket, but an entire administration, including more than 4,000 political appointees.
Moreover, for those experiencing apathy or aversion regarding the two major party presidential candidates, it’s important to bear in mind that the Utah ballot contains myriad local and statewide races which typically have a more direct impact on everyday affairs than the federal contests.
Voting is also a symbol of support for self-governance and suffrage.
Each vote honors the countless Americans who sacrificed, struggled, and died protecting liberty and winning the right to vote. From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, to suffrage and civil rights, countless brave patriots in numerous generations bled and died answering America’s call to “rise up” and, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
We urge all to cast an informed vote not only as a practical political matter, but also as a token of gratitude for a heritage of self-governance and suffrage. With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, there are few better ways to express appreciation and indebtedness for those who built this nation than by becoming informed and turning beliefs into ballots.