November 6, 2012

Our View: The time has come, finally, for the voters

After a grueling campaign, the candidates are no more than props as the drama concludes.

President Obama told a crowd in Concord, N.H., on Sunday that he and his top aides were becoming less and less important as the campaign rolled to an end.

The president of the United States might be the most powerful man in the world, but the outcome of the election would soon be in the hands of voters.

"I'm sort of a prop in the campaign," Obama told his audience. "The planning, everything we do, it doesn't matter, because now it is all up to you."

The same is true for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has been the center of attention during a grueling race against seven challengers to win the Republican nomination.

Romney has had his good days, such as when he outperformed the president in the first debate, and his bad ones, like when hidden camera showed him dismissing 47 percent of the country as people who won't take responsibility for their lives.

But now, like Obama, he is just waiting for the verdict of the voters.

The speeches have been made. The ads run. The polls dissected and analyzed. There is only one part left to play and it is something that each of us should be ready to play, if we haven't already done so. And that is to cast our votes. Fortunately, Maine has some of the best laws in the country when it comes to making it easy for us to participate. Any American citizen 18 years or older who resides in Maine can vote. There are no requirements for ID or waiting periods. Any Mainer, even a brand-new Mainer, can show up on Election Day to register and vote. Our laws are some of the least restrictive in the nation and are part of the reason that we often lead the nation in voter turnout. When the Legislature tried to change our system and make it harder to cast a ballot by eliminating same-day registration and voting, a citizen-initiatated people's veto overturned it by a landslide.

Mainers often say they dislike politics, but they like to vote and have always turned out in big numbers on Election Day. This is the way our founders wanted it.

They were the elite of their society, and could have built a government for us in which we were ruled by the best and the wisest that society could offer. But that was not the system of government they chose.

Instead they picked a system in which everyone gets a say, and on Election Day the most powerful man in the world and his multimillionaire opponent are just props waiting for the people in power to tell them who wins.

The people in power are the voters, and today is their chance to use their power. Everyone who can should go out today and vote.

 

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