America’s voters returned to the polls Tuesday

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, November 4, 2020

One of our country’s founding fathers, the man who penned the Declaration of Independence and our country’s third president, had a very profound comment when it came to the very foundation of our democracy — voting.

“We do not have government by the majority,” Thomas Jefferson said. “We have government by the majority who participate.”

And it was that majority, that large turnout of registered voters who spoke out Tuesday. Their voices may not have been in unison on each topic, but they sang in harmony in support for our form of government and our Constitutional right to vote.

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Regardless of the outcomes, regardless of who won or which initiative passed, our country won Tuesday by the mere fact that people turned out to vote.

In the past seven county-wide elections, the average voter turnout in Warren County was just over 36 percent, which means that on average about two-thirds of the people who had the right to vote, who were registered to vote, chose not to do so. They failed to vote and failed our community, our state and our nation.

That was not the case Tuesday, when a majority of Warren County’s 27,427 registered voters did so. They either stood in the long lines at polling places Tuesday or were proactive in submitting an absentee ballot before Election Day.

The final percentage will have to wait until the local election results are certified, but just look at the absentee ballots as an example. In the November 2016 presidential election 1,775 absentee ballots were cast, a record number at the time. This year, 4,062 absentee ballots were submitted. Nationally, as many as half of the country’s 330 million people are expected to cast votes.

And the great thing about Tuesday’s election is that it was not a single-contest election. Even though the hotly-contested and divisive presidential election took the headlines, Mississippi voters had much, much more to decide. Initiatives on medical marijuana and the state flag, as well as Senate and Congressional races, were just as important as the presidential race in charting the future course of the state and country.

In the end, the winners were Warren County, Mississippi, and our country because more people took part in the process and showed up. That is how our country was founded and what separates us from others in the world.

Thomas Jefferson was right when he said “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” He was right when he said it in the 18th Century and he is right today in the 21st.