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In our opinion: Don’t have a plan to vote? Make one

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

A 2020 revision to a popular phrase from “The Wizard of Oz” might read “Viruses, protests and an election — oh my!”

That’s certainly the dilemma running through the minds of many this year when it comes to handling the election just 38 days away. But while there may be lingering questions over mail-in ballots and the safety of voting in person, individuals must not forget the importance of their vote.

Nothing about the year has been status quo, and that especially includes November’s election process. Now is the time for voters to not only register, but to become familiar with their state’s requirements and procedures — and how they may be changing.

The uncertainty and confusion surrounding the election may encourage some to bypass voting this year. That is a mistake. If anything, the events of the past months should reignite a recognition of the importance of good leadership.

From the ongoing pandemic to the social justice protests and natural disasters across America, the benefits of strong, smart leadership and consequences of shortcomings is striking. Nov. 3 is the opportunity granted to all individuals to have a say in the direction of the country and future unprecedented circumstances.

The day to have one’s voice heard the loudest is fast approaching.

Florida and Arizona’s voter registration deadlines are less than two weeks away. There are 21 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow same-day registration, and some only allow this option for election day, not early voting.

Some states, like Texas, require registration to be mailed-in. Forty others allow online registration.

For those unsure of how to register, many sites, including Google, allow one to simply type in their state and find all the information needed to make a voting plan.

Making that plan to vote is always important, but should be done even earlier this year. With many states using mail-in ballots, affecting an estimated 60 million Americans, deadlines for getting them in will come before election day.

Studies show that those who make a plan to vote are more likely to do so. We challenge everyone to make the personal intention and commitment to vote, and to create a plan for doing so. A quick visit to Howto.vote is a great place to start.

The last few presidential elections have not seen a large statistical difference in voter turnout, which hovers around 61% of the voting-age population. For the country to move in the direction that its citizens truly desire, the voice of the people must be heard.

Those who vote hold the power to lead in the right direction.

Susan B. Anthony, whose efforts to win the vote for women are being celebrated with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, reminded that “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.”

Not everyone’s right to vote has always been established. Yet the importance of being able to do — to have your voice influence and be recognized — has always been fought for. Today, voting is seen as a fundamental right in the United States. It’s one that many around the world still yearn for.

The voting process may not look or feel like it has in past years, but its importance and power has not changed. Start planning now to have your voice change the future.