By now, you’ve put away your Halloween decorations and the Christmas advertising campaigns will be plastering our airwaves soon. Whether we want to or not, many of us will start thinking about the holiday season and going through the various annual rituals of extra cooking, shopping and decorating. But before you start rummaging through your closets for those lights you plan on stringing up, it’s important to plan on voting in the mid-term elections on November 6. It’s not just a privilege, it’s your responsibility. I don’t particularly remember how quickly I filled out a voter registration card after my 18th birthday but I still remember the first election in which I voted and how happy and excited I was to do so. It was just a minor school board election, and I might not have even gone to vote had my Economics teacher not mentioned it in class during the day (I was focused more on the upcoming Presidential that would be taking place when I was to enter college that fall) but after an early dinner that evening, I jumped on my bike and rushed right over to the polling place to exercise my newly-acquired right as a citizen. Being a relatively minor school board election, turnout was probably low but I truly felt a sense of privilege as I went into the voting booth.
I am not normally one to get political on this blog, and I am not here to endorse or criticize any particular candidate. But it’s our Congress that draws up and passes the various laws that reflect the policies proposed and enforced by our President. Every member of our House of Representatives is up for re-election while one third of our Senate also must be evaluated by the constituents in their states to determine if they will keep their jobs. We’ve had some of the most radical changes to our tax system that I’ve ever seen as a tax professional since I entered the field from my time at the Internal Revenue Service. If you don’t like the tax scheme then it’s up to you to vote out the politicians that allowed it to happen as they are the ones that wrote the law our President signed. If you are happy about the new system, then it’s up to you keep the people that wrote it in office. Either way, these elections are designed to bring what we the people want as a country, both for ourselves and for everyone. Our country isn’t perfect and the election process itself is no exception, but simply talking about what is wrong or what is right about our government does not have anywhere near the effect that voting out or re-electing the politicians that created the system we have. Admittedly, some states make it easier than others, with early and/or mail-in voting, but on November 6, all states have their polls open early in the morning and don’t close until late in the evening. I know it can be a hassle, but it’s important to find your way over to the polls, whether it’s before work, during lunch or after work. It shouldn’t take you long. As they’ve been saying for decades… Get Out and Vote!