October 09, 2018

Voting: A Privilege, a Duty, and a Path to a Stronger Democracy

Linda A. Klein

As America gets ready for Election Day in less than two weeks, the importance of voting cannot be stressed enough. And so throughout this fall, we have been mobilizing American Bar Association resources on election law and encouraging lawyers to get involved as poll workers.

To encourage youth to become involved in the electoral process, we are distributing a new video to K-12 schools nationwide. We also have produced a promotional handout called “Will Your Voice be Heard on Election Day?” stressing the importance of voting and state rules about voting. You can personalize the card for yourself or your firm and print or distribute electronically to your clients and communities.

All of these resources, including links to state-by-state information on voter registration, voter ID requirements, and other areas, are available at our ABA website ambar.org/vote. The website also contains information about laws that provide time off to vote and accessibility for voters with disabilities. Please take advantage of them and share them broadly.

The American Bar Association remains nonpartisan. It does not endorse candidates or contribute to candidates or PACs. But the ABA believes that lawyers have a basic obligation to support voting, which is the cornerstone of our democracy.

The turnout for the 2012 US elections was only 58 percent of eligible voters. According to the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, about half of all eligible people ages 18-29 voted in the 2012 presidential election. But their vote was decisive in the outcome of the presidential election, especially in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, according to the center.

Voting is a citizen’s civic responsibility and is also your opportunity to make your voice heard. It is every Americans’ chance to shape the type of government they want. Patriots have fought and died so that we can have the right to vote. As lawyers, we should foster that sense of civic duty.

It’s essential that all of us turn out to vote. Every vote is a building block in our democracy. The more people who vote, the stronger our system of government becomes. As a nation, we should do much better. We can do much better.

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Linda A. Klein, President, American Bar Association

Linda A. Klein is the senior managing shareholder at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz and past president of the American Bar Association (2016-2017).