Leaders of both major political parties agree on one thing: The presidential election scheduled for Tuesday is among the most important in American history. Its outcome will shape our government, economy, even our society for many years to come. Your life and that of your children and grandchildren will be affected profoundly.

Don’t you want to have a say in the matter?

To judge by voter turnouts in previous elections, many of your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors simply don’t care about how we are governed. They do not bother to vote.

Turnout in the 2016 Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton race in Pennsylvania was 60.27%. Locally, more voters went to the polls, with a turnout of 66% in Fayette County and 71.02% in Greene.

Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, there is no reason for such apathy this year. Absentee voting by mail, early voting in person and Election Day voting on Tuesday provide options to ensure your voice is heard.

If you are reading this, you probably understand the importance of this election. Perhaps you have voted already. But what about others you know, perhaps even in your own family or circle of friends? Are they as engaged as you are?

If not, encourage them to make a difference by voting. Offer to help, perhaps by explaining the mail-in ballot process or offering to drive them to their polling place on Tuesday.

How you vote is important, of course. But more critical in the long run is whether you participate in the election.

Our form of government – of, by and for the people – can endure only if we Americans are part of it. If we do not use the most effective tool at our disposal – the ballot – to get the kind of government we want, we will not get it. It is that simple.

Vote, and spread the word about how important it is to do so.

You can make a difference there, too.

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