If you are reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re going to head to the polls Nov. 4. Or maybe you’ve voted early or by absentee, but by reading the letters to the editor you are also engaging in the public debate.

As someone who takes the time to vote, you know that those in power have the ability to affect almost every aspect of our lives. Elected officials decide issues ranging from access to health care, public education funding, the minimum wage, the extent to which women can control their own bodies, and more.

Even though so much is dependent on the people’s vote, the last time Maine elected a governor only 55 percent of eligible voters turned out to the polls.

This year, it doesn’t have to be that way. Cast your ballot and encourage others to get registered and do the same. Do you have friends who just moved? A child who recently turned 18? Do you work in a high school or university with young students? Talk to them about voting. Tell them why you make the effort.

Democracy benefits the people only if the people turn out. This year, use your voice to lift the voices of others. Let’s show the candidates that all of Maine is listening, not just 55 percent.

Molly Bogart

public policy co-chair, AAUW of Maine