The following is a statement from Ohio State Bar Association President-Elect Jonathan Hollingsworth.
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, is Election Day. As lawyers, we know how important it is to vote ourselves and to encourage others to exercise their right to vote, we understand the importance of keeping the voting process fair and accessible, and we know a democracy requires participation by its people.
To help ensure fairness and access here in Ohio, lawyers can be valuable resources on Election Day. Our training provides us with a respect for the election process and we are uniquely qualified to help ensure the integrity of that process.
For example, Ohio lawyers can volunteer to be poll workers this November, especially in the role of judge or presiding judge on Election Day. If you are interested, contact your County Board of Elections. The Ohio Secretary of State's website lists all 88 county boards of election with contact information.
Other organizations across the state and the nation have programs that also seek to involve citizens in the election process. What's important to remember is that voting matters in a constitutional democracy, and that we, as lawyers, can help ensure fairness in and access to the voting process.
Our democracy has a rich heritage of personal involvement by leaders and citizens alike who knew the importance of participating in the voting process:
- "The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter" (Dwight D. Eisenhower);
- "We preach the virtues of democracy abroad. We must practice its duties here at home. Voting is the first duty of democracy" (Lyndon B. Johnson); and
- "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable . . . It comes only through the tireless efforts and passionate concern of dedicated individuals . . . This is no time for apathy nor complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action" (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).
Let's all accept the challenge from these great leaders, to honor their words, by voting ourselves, encouraging others to vote, and by doing our part to ensure our citizens have access to the voting process. This commitment allows us to avoid the irony of an America where we are willing to cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won't cross the street to vote in an election.