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Remembering the original American franchise heading into 2024

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As 2023 comes to a close and Americans look toward 2024, we find ourselves facing another election season. While there will be a wide field of candidates for us to consider across local, state and federal elections, there will be as many critical issues that will be decided at the ballot box and by those we elect to represent us as well.

Don’t be fooled by all of the pages in the calendar leading up to next May and November. Before we know it, we’ll be headed back to the ballot box, and now is the time to begin looking at the issues and, more specifically, the candidates who will resonate with us in the coming year.

Simply said, the right to vote, for most of us, is one of the cornerstones for a healthy democratic republic. We urge every voting citizen to treat this responsibility and right with the utmost importance.

For all of the admirable good that our forefathers did at the forming of our nation, the establishment of fair and equitable voting rights was perhaps their greatest limitation. But through the subsequent passage of the Fifteenth, Nineteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to our constitution, and at the cost of great toil and turmoil, today’s voting rights have been firmly established and contribute to the disparity between ours and other democratic nations around the globe.

With those rights, however, come the responsibility to make informed decisions when it comes to those we vote for and the issues that come before us on election day. As the saying goes, our vote truly is our voice.

Oftentimes we take this responsibility for granted. With the deluge of information that we all face on a daily basis, it’s easy to overlook elections as simply a nominal part of the democratic process. We would argue, however, that in this day and age, making prudent decisions about those we elect and the issues that face our nation is more critical than ever.

In November, we will again elect a president and by almost any measure, the person who we choose for the Oval Office will be tasked with making decisions for the greatest population that our country has ever known, and through some of the most crucial issues that our nation has faced.

Closer to home, Nebraskans will decide the races in a myriad of state and federal elections, including seats in the District 19 Unicameral and the 1st District U.S. House of Representatives in our corner of the state. Here in Norfolk, we will elect a mayor and four city councilmen, in addition to several other key races.

Now is the time to embrace the original American franchise, the right to vote, and in doing so, to educate ourselves on the issues and the candidates that will lead us into the years ahead.

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