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Sun., Aug. 30
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Right and duty

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Today is decision day in American politics, the culmination of many months of campaigning in countless races across the country. So much public effort, time and money goes into persuading citizens to support a specific candidate or point of view. All that energy is focused toward one day — and this is it.

The campaign is very public. Yet when it comes time to vote, it is up to the individual selecting his or her choices in the privacy of the voting booth. The privilege to vote is also a duty — one that has been hard won.

Over the years, many reflections have been offered about the act of voting. The following are a few examples:

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” — Samuel Adams.

“Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.” — James Garfield.

“A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law.” — Alexander Hamilton.

“The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing the forms of government under which they should live.” — John Jay.

“Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights.” — Thomas Jefferson.

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate — look to his character.” — Noah Webster.

“The people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.” — John Witherspoon.

“A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” — Theodore Roosevelt.

“A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.” — Alexis de Tocqueville.

“Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do.” — Will Rogers .

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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