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COL Here's your chance, voters

Let's disprove prediction of low turnout at polls

Judy Scherr, Rochester city clerk, reports that voter turnout in the city might be as low as 25 percent in Tuesday's primary.

If that is correct, it would mean that only 12,395 of 49,581 voters would go to the polls in the city.

Based on past participation, voter turnout in Twin Cities suburbs is expected to range from only 15.7 percent to 32.4 percent.

Those figures suggest a continued decline in voter participation at a time when Americans should be concerned about the future of our country. We are engaged in a worldwide fight against terrorism, we might be on the brink of war with Iraq, the economy is struggling -- and yet many people are content to let someone else choose their leaders from the mayor to the commander-in-chief.

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It would not be unreasonable to say that the current calls for a patriotic response to the nation's troubles should also include participation in elections. In the world's population of 6.2 billion, only a small fraction have the opportunity to participate in genuinely democratic elections. Here in America, where that right has existed for more than 200 years, too many people are indifferent to that opportunity.

With regard to patriotism, Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer has this suggestion: "Remember Sept. 11 by voting on Sept. 10."

That advice hits home when you recall that Sept. 11, 2001, was election day in Minnesota. Kiffmeyer said state officials even considered canceling the election because some were concerned for the safety of poll workers and voters going to the polls after hearing of the New York and Washington attacks.

; She said eventually the decision was made to proceed with the election as a demonstration that democratic processes can't be stopped by violence.

Kiffmeyer's advice should be another incentive for voters to turn out in force to prove that voting matters in this country even if it doesn't in areas where the al-Qaida members live.

Voting is a prized privilege, but it is worth nothing if it isn't used. ;

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