At this point in an election cycle, we are all fatigued by the political ads that appear on TV and in our social media feeds. However, we cannot let the angst in our political system dissuade us from being involved.
While it was baseball player Jackie Robinson that was quoted as declaring that “life is not a spectator sport,” historians credit Lotte Scharfman, a refugee who escaped with her family from Austria during World War II, with coining the phrase “democracy is not a spectator sport.”
Scharfman devoted her life to working for the democratic process and to helping citizens gain access to government. The president of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts died on her 42nd birthday in 1970, but her spirit lives on as the phase is often used this time of year.
In fact, former President Barak Obama included the statement in a speech four years ago encouraging people to get out to vote, “That’s who we are. That’s our birthright – the capacity to shape our own destiny. That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma, and workers to organize and fight for collective bargaining and better wages.”
The representative democracy that our founding fathers created was based on making this a nation “by the people, for the people” and while it has never been a perfect system, it has been the closest thing to a pure democracy. Despite the rhetoric surrounding them, our elections remain the envy of the world – carefully watched and highly consequential. There are countless reasons that we ought to become and remain civically engaged, not that least of which is to ensure that our government at all levels is in fact representing us.
So much of the media coverage and advertising these days is focused on the presidential race, however, North Carolinians will also elect state, federal, judicial, county, and school board officials. With such long ballots, it’s important to take the time to learn about the candidates that are running to represent you, and to understand the procedures for voting this year. Information on the candidates running is available on many online locations (see below) that you can access from the comfort of your home or at a local library.
Absentee voting by mail is available now. Early in-person voting will begin on October 15 and run through October 31. If you prefer to vote on Election Day, the polls will be open on November 3 from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM. Check your local board of elections for specific guidance on locations and hours (website links below).
Please take the time to educate yourself, to participate in this democracy, and to find ways to engage with your local officials. Serve on local boards and committees, make comments at public meetings, and get involved in shaping the Cape Fear Area, the place we love to call home.
To quote a wise woman, “democracy is not a spectator sport” – get out and take part. Please exercise your right and vote.
North Carolina Board of Elections: www.ncsbe.gov/voting/upcoming-election#sample
New Hanover County Board of Elections: https://elections.nhcgov.com
Pender County Board of Elections: https://www.pendercountync.gov/boe/
Brunswick County Board of Elections: https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/elections/
StarNews Meet the Candidate: https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2020/10/05/meet-wilmington-area-candidates-ahead-election-day/5825662002/
WHQR Interview Candidates: https://www.whqr.org/topic/2020-elections-1#stream/0
Port City Daily: https://portcitydaily.com/municipal-elections/
Local Republican and Democratic Party websites include links to the candidates running for office
Cape Fear REALTORS® and its nearly 3,000 members are the region’s Voice of Real Estate. Cape Fear REALTORS® through advocacy, education, and community involvement support efforts to protect the rights of property owners, to promote the availability of housing, and to provide resources to guarantee every individual has the right to share in the “American Dream”. For further information on this topic and the association, please visit www.capefear.realtor or contact the Cape Fear REALTORS® at 910-762-7400.
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