Posted at 5:36 p.m., Nov. 3, 2014

Voting needed for real democracy

Maybe you just turned 18, or maybe you are older but have never desired to vote. Yet the reasons everyone should go to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 4, are many.

As Laramie County Community College instructor of government studies Dave Marcum said, “A vote can be a message to the larger community.”

Participation needed from students

As part of a democratic republic, voting is how citizens express what is needed for their community, state and country. Marcum explained, “If we are going to be a real democracy, a vibrant democracy, a functioning democracy, we need people participating.”

Indeed, the number of people visiting the polls seems to have decreased.

Being a voter goes beyond checking the party affiliation box. It is voters’ responsibility to be informed of candidate platforms and ideas. So do voters do that? Several resources are available beyond the fliers left in a mailbox. The local newspapers, candidate websites, candidate forums and candidate Facebook pages are a good start.

However, if you need a better understanding of what a candidate stands for, pick up the phone. Marcum recommended, “If you want to know what candidates stand for, you are going to have to make personal contact with them.”

Marcum suggested students pay particular attention to candidates for City Council and Wyoming Legislature and for parents of school-aged children, candidates for the school board.

Board of trustees candidates should be on student's radar

LCCC students should also research candidates for the LCCC Board of Trustees. Marcum said, “A lot of stuff that affects students on a daily basis is determined by the board of trustees.” Unfortunately, this year the board election has already been decided because of the lack of candidates filing for that office.

“That should not discourage students from voting. If there are people [including students] out there who are inclined to run for the board, but didn’t file this time, they might be encouraged to do so next time,” Marcum said.

If you are a student from out of state and don’t plan to stay in Wyoming or change your residency, you are able to vote as an absentee. Most states have minimal requirements to register and cast an absentee vote. Every state government will have a website with information available regarding absentee voting.

“Just because a student is living in Wyoming for a couple of years doesn’t mean they have to tune out to what is going on back home,” Marcum explained.

Absentee voting

In Laramie County, absentee voting started Sept. 25 with polls available in the Atrium of the Laramie County Governmental Complex, 309 W. 20th St. It is open from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open registration ends 14 days prior to Election Day or Oct. 21. After that, voters must register at the polls and vote at the same time.

Debbye Lathrop, Laramie County Clerk, said it is necessary to have a permanent residence in Laramie County to qualify as a registered voter in Laramie County.

So, if the Wyoming weather appeals to you, you are 18-years-old by or on Election Day, are a U.S. citizen, have a valid ID, are not a convicted felon or adjudicated mentally incompetent, then there is no good excuse not to exercise your right to vote.

On Election Day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wingspan will have live election coverage on some races on Charter Cable Channel 11 and Wingspan Online.


Courtesy of www.laramiecountyclerk.com/elections

Key Dates for Election 2014

 

 

Sept. 25

Absentee Voting for General Election started

Nov. 4

General Election

Nov. 7

County Canvassing Board meets


Absentee Voting
Absentee voting begins 40 days prior to each election. For the convenience of Laramie County voters, the Clerk's Office has an absentee polling place located in the Atrium of the Laramie County Governmental Complex, 309 W. 20th St.
This polling place is open from 8:15 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday for the 40-day period prior to the election. Voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot may visit this polling site or:

All absentee ballots must be received in the Clerk's Office by 7 p.m. on the day of the election to be counted.


Voter Registration Information
The state of Wyoming is exempt from the National Voter Registration Act commonly known as “motor voter.” So no voter registration is available at the Driver’s License Division of the Department of Transportation or at any other state agency.
Voters may register at the office of the County Clerk or any Town Clerk (Pine Bluffs, Albin and Burns). To register to vote in Laramie County, a person must meet the following qualifications:

People who meet the above qualifications may also register to vote at the polls on election day.

 

Laramie Co. Clerk Elections page