In last year's presidential election, a lot of emphasis was put on the importance of voting. Young people got involved and voter turnout was the largest ever.

There is presidential election this year, but the balloting is equally important. Actually, it's even more pivotal for a number of reasons.

The first is that all the winners of this year's election are determined by popular vote. Last year, although popular vote was important, an Electoral College made the final decision for the presidency, while the vice president was appointed.

This year, if you're a registered voter, you'll be deciding on seats in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, governor, lieutenant governor, Pa. House of Representatives, and other offices.

If you've glanced at any newspaper or heard any TV news, you know the huge problems – national and statewide – confronting and impacting all Americans. Do you want change or are you satisfied with the way the incumbents are running the country? Are your present lawmakers adequately representing you?

In Pennsylvania, a huge budget deficit that exists threatens to get even larger. The employment picture is still clouding any kind of economic recovery. There are many other pressing issues that are and will affect all of us.

Are you familiar with the candidates running for the various offices and what they stand for? If not, do a little research and go to the polls informed on Tuesday.

People in many countries can only dream of having the kind of voting freedom we experience in America. Yet, so few every year take the time to go to the polls.

The old saying that "you never miss the water 'til the well goes dry" can certainly apply to voting. We have the opportunity to choose our leaders. We have the freedom to periodically retain or "fire" those leaders who we don't feel are doing a good job.

The main enemy in every election is apathy. This year, the stakes are too high to let apathy get in our way.

If you're registered to vote, go to the polls tomorrow. It's not only a right, it's a responsibility.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]