From the editor: Let's be clear — your vote will decide the future of our country
Thinking of sitting out the election? Here's why your vote counts. Register, verify your status or request an absentee ballot at vote.usatoday.com. USA TODAY
There are few things in this world that take so little time but can have such positive effects.
Wearing a seatbelt. Being kind to one another. And voting.
But often, it's those simple things that we tend to let slip. Perhaps because it's difficult to see their immediate value. So let's be clear.
Your vote in this year's presidential election will help determine not only the next president, our representatives and a number of senators, but also chart the course for a country that is deeply divided.
It will help determine the future of our taxes, social security, roads and bridges, judiciary, healthcare, and much, much more. It will serve as a bold statement that you believe in the strength of our democracy, in the ability of our collective wisdom, and as a marker for the direction you want our country to take.
That's why The Record and NorthJersey.com along with the entire USA Today Network nationwide are making election coverage a cornerstone of our reporting this fall. We will be dedicating reporters to exploring election issues at the local, county and state levels as well as doing analysis of how federal races could affect New Jersey.
Part of that effort is focused on registering as many voters as possible so the full force of our democracy can be felt on Nov. 3. To do that, we have created a site at vote.usatoday.com where you will find all the resources necessary to make your vote count. Not only can you find out if you are already registered, we have made it easy to register, sign up for election reminders and get an absentee ballot.
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In addition, you will be able to find and research all the issues being debated by the candidates, as well as a complete voter guide and latest news so you can make an informed decision.
At NorthJersey.com, you will find our elections page full of information on local, state and federal races. Already, we have stories that explore how President Trump is using the Paterson election fraud case on a national level, how more ballot drop boxes are being placed in every county, and a primer on how voting by mail works, among many others. You will also find a link to the vote.usatoday.com page.
Why is this such a focus for The Record, NorthJersey.com and the USA Today Network nationwide?
As a consumer of news, you are engaged with current events, are likely registered to vote and you actively take part in the process. But that is not the case with many of your friends, neighbors and relatives.
In 2016, just a little more than one out of two people in the United States went to the polls. Out of 32 highly developed nations, the Pew Research Center found the United States ranked 26 for the percentage of voting age population that took place in the most recent national election. And only 64% of the voting age population is actually registered to vote.
So, as we work to bring more people into this critical aspect of American life, we are asking you to take part in the process by talking to those friends, neighbors and relatives that aren't taking part in the process. Let them know how important their vote is and encourage them to get involved. A good starting point is a quick visit to vote.usatoday.com
Our democracy relies upon all of us to be active participants. It is a privilege and a cherished right. Don't let it go to waste.
Daniel Sforza is the Executive Editor of The Record and NorthJersey.com. He can be reached at email@example.com