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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

Lots Of Fringe Benefits Come With Voting


The late,  great Molly Ivins once said that voting whitens your teeth, freshens your breath and perks up your sex life. All those things are true. It’s just science.

I’ll just add a couple of things. Voting makes you more interesting at parties, increases your chance of winning the lottery, and entitles you to the last piece of chicken in the box.

You also get that little I Voted sticker, which is as close as you can get as a grownup to one of those gold stars the teachers give out in kindergarten.

Having said all that … if you’re eligible to vote in this year’s elections, and you don’t, we’re going to have to send somebody over to check your pulse.

All up and down the ballot, we the people have clear choices that reflect what we want our country, state and city to be – or what we don’t want it to be.

There’s the congressional race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. There are six controversial amendments to the state Constitution. In Mecklenburg County, we’re choosing six county commissioners. In Charlotte, we’re voting on more than $200 million in bonds for highways, neighborhood improvements, and affordable housing.

If you haven’t paid attention up to now, it might seem like too much to get your head around. It’s not. Lots of places, including WFAE, have put together voter guides that help you figure out who the candidates are and what they stand for. They’ll even tell you where your polling place is. You can get caught up in an hour. Fortnite will still be there when you get back.

Yes, there will probably be a line at your polling place. The good news is, Election Day lines are the best lines. Everybody’s happy to be there. You get to talk to your neighbors. Somebody will have one of those voter guides handy if you still didn’t study up. It moves way quicker than the line at Costco.

And when you finally get in the room where it happens, you step in front of that little machine and you get to participate in something that the ones who came before us fought a revolution for, sacrificed for, died for. Voting is the closest thing to a sacrament that a secular nation can offer.

This country never works exactly how we want it to. That’s because we are a messy amalgamation of 325 million people who can’t even agree on our favorite kind of Doritos, much less the direction of the country. But the quickest way for us to improve is to put the best people we can in office. And the way to do that is for regular people like us to get off our couches Tuesday morning and go to the polls.

Also, as science has proven, voting lowers cholesterol.

Tommy Tomlinson’s commentaries appear every Monday on WFAE and WFAE.org. They represent his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to his commentaries in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.