The Daily Journal: Bill Sandifer commentary: The great privilege we have in voting

By South Carolina Rep. Bill Sandifer

Our one vote can significantly affect the issues that touch our lives. In fact, voting is one of the most important rights and responsibilities we have as South Carolinians and as Americans.

While voting is our duty, it is also a great privilege. This privilege and the true democracy we have in our nation were earned by brave citizens who fought for our freedom.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that these days we too often take this privilege for granted. Voter turnout is often low, many people believe that their vote doesn’t really matter, and too many South Carolinians remain on the sidelines at election time. I believe that we all must recognize what a great opportunity we have to choose our leaders and influence the issues that affect us.

This idea hit home to me like never before in last month’s primary election. I observed a courageous lady from Seneca who I am proud to say is a supporter and constituent.

Sadly, she was also facing unbelievable challenges. She was battling cancer that was ravaging her body and making her daily life extremely difficult.

She was so determined to cast her vote, however, that she literally asked her husband to carry her to the polls since she was bedridden. This was a woman who truly understood the value of voting and took her right, responsibility and privilege seriously.

The woman’s commitment to voting despite profound obstacles was not only a tremendous testimony to me, but also to her family. This was especially true for her two daughters. These girls now know the importance of voting and the value of making it a high priority.

As your schedule is busy, voting seems inconvenient, or it’s just plain difficult to get to the polls, I encourage you to think of this brave woman and the sacrifices she and her family made to cast her vote. Think also of the example you are setting for the next generation and the legacy you are leaving for your children.

The truth is that your one vote counts and you can influence the issues that affect you.

After all, change starts at a grassroots level with people who are willing to go the extra mile. Also, you can influence the people around you by setting an example and exercising your right to vote.

As we approach November and many elections that will determine our future, I encourage you to remember what a great privilege we have in voting and to make whatever sacrifices necessary to go to the polls on Election Day. Take the time to be informed and involved, make decisions based on principles, and then let your voice be heard. Do it not only out of duty, but also with thankfulness for the great privilege we have in our state and our nation.

You may have noticed that I wrote this in the past tense. I am very sorry to say that Lisa Smith died on July 4th. My sympathy and that of my entire family goes out to her family.

She was truly a wonderful, brave and caring person.

Representative Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee) is chair of the SC House of Representatives Labor, Commerce and Industry’s Public Utilities subcommittee. His e-mail address is WES@schouse.org.