Manchester town clerk Anita L. Sheldon tells us that as of just before noon on Tuesday, Oct. 11, there were 3,742 registered voters in town, an increase of 140 voters from the March town elections. She's expecting that number to continue climbing until voter registration closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 – six days before Election Day.
But unless those voters actually go to the polls, those numbers are just that.
The founders bet their lives on a representative democracy where the people had a right to choose their leaders. Men and women risked and sacrificed their lives to protect that right. Women and African-Americans demanded and won that right when it was unjustly denied them.
Those people all gave us an important, powerful gift – a voice in our own government. Who are we to waste it?
You might question whether your vote really matters. Or you might be so fed up with the candidates, the dismal state of politics and a process that seems more rigged than a reality show that you're convinced the best way to send a message is to stay home. Maybe you're so fed up with the candidates that you'd vote for "none of the above" if you could.
But here's the thing: Election Day is the one day you truly have all the power. Politicians don't own your vote. Wealthy special interests can't buy it.
You're not going to throw that power away, are you?
In a small state, it doesn't take much to swing an election. Ask Peter Milne, who was defeated by Gov. Peter Shumlin by just 2,434 votes in 2014. That year, 193,526 ballots were cast in the election – only 43.6 percent of the 443,400 registered voters in Vermont as of Oct. 31 of that year.
If a few thousand more folks voted, we might have been considering Gov. Peter Milne's re-election chances rather than the respective merits of Democratic nominee Sue Minter or Republican challenger Phil Scott.
So yes, your vote counts.
There is no excuse not to register in Vermont, because registration is easy and convenient. You can register in person at your town hall, or even online. And you've got until 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 to do so.
In this election, with so much hanging in the balance locally and nationally, you owe it to yourself and your country to vote.
We hope to see you at the polls.