Friday, October 3, 2008

It is your personal vote

The secret ballot has been around for long that we take it for granted. But it is a relatively recent addition to the election process. The first U.S. president elected entirely on secret ballots was Grover Cleveland in 1892.

Before secret ballots were adopted, there was a lot of intimidation in the election process.

In the presidential election on Nov. 4, you, the voter, will have the benefit of a personal and private vote. You can vote for whoever you believe is the best candidate, and you do not have to answer to anyone about how you voted, because it will be done on a secret ballot.

The reason this is important is that U.S. elections are increasingly polarized. We talk about red states and blue states, but what we are really discussing is two distinct viewpoints about how the country should be run, and very little agreement between the two. Those on one side or the other seem to feel that the other side is completely wrong. That polarization, in addition to creating gridlock in Washington, produces an intimidating atmosphere for voters.

Fortunately we vote in secret, and your choice is yours and yours alone.

The Oakland Press will soon begin its endorsements of candidates running in the Nov. 4 election. These are published on our Opinion pages because they are our opinions of who would do the best job. We hope that you will find our opinions useful in your own search for the candidates you will choose. But please remember, they are our opinions. The only opinion that counts when you enter the voting booth is yours.


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