Prelude to Voting Means Knowing the Rules to the Game

Election Day arrives in a little more than a month, and your vote in the presidential race as well as in every state and local race, is significant.  It matters.  Voting is the chance for every American’s voice to be heard and to shape the type of government we want.

People come up with many reasons not to take the time to vote, whether it’s disillusionment with the candidates or political parties, inconvenience, apathy or just forgetfulness. But the words attributed to the Greek statesman Pericles in 430 BC ring just as true today: “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

And as we’ve all learned, every vote does matter.

If you are not registered to vote in Wyoming, you have three options:

  1. Register in person at your local County Clerk’s office
  2. Register by mail
  3. Register at the polls on Election Day (must present valid Driver License or last four digits of your Social Security Number)

A study in 2012 by the Pew Center on the States found that 25 percent of eligible voters are not even on voter rolls. It’s important that your information is correct and updated and that you are aware of your polling place and state requirements before Nov. 8 so that you can vote when you arrive at the polls.

The legal community has a keen interest in voting since it is the foundation of the rule of law, which lawyers have a duty to protect. Each vote is a building block in our democracy. The more people who participate, the stronger our system of government and our country becomes, and the more accountable our representatives.

The American Bar Association, which represents more than 400,000 lawyers, judges and law students in the country, is dedicated to helping every citizen learn what’s required to vote. That’s why the ABA has created a website at that includes an interactive map of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories with information about registration deadlines, absentee ballot material and laws about the identification you’ll need at the polls.

The website also contains information about laws that provide time off to vote and accessibility for voters with disabilities. The site has resources for lawyers as well, encouraging them to get involved in their communities and get people to vote. To help inspire clients and their communities to vote, the ABA has developed a card titled, “Will Your Voice Be Heard on Election Day?” that lawyers can personalize and distribute to their clients and communities. The ABA is also providing a new video to schools nationwide encouraging youth involvement in the electoral process. All this can be found at and keep abreast of updates on Twitter at @ABAVoteNow.

Patriots have fought and died so that we can have the right to vote. Ronald Reagan called voting “the crown jewel of American liberties” and Lyndon Johnson said that the vote was “the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice.”

Our past elections have seen participation rates below 60 percent of those eligible to vote actually taking part. All eligible voters need to be involved, and the first step to fulfilling that civic duty is getting registered.

John Masterson

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