In 1776, those allowed to vote had to fall under strict requirements: you had to be white, male and a landowner.
It wasn't until 1920 that women were allowed to vote. The privilege was extended to all races under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 44 years after women were allowed and sadly, only five decades ago.
It's been an uphill climb to allow every citizen the right to go to the polls. Throughout our nation's history, people have fought – and sometimes died – in order to have a say in an election. Which is why we implore our residents to make the time to visit the polls for the primary election on March 6.
For those of us who were born into this country. We have come to assume that these freedoms, such as the right to have a say in government, are universal.
In writing a piece for Psychology Today, Rhea Lickerman felt that way, too. Although she was Canadian by birth, she'd lived in America for nine years on a green card with her husband. For estate-planning purposes, she was advised to become a U.S. citizen, so she followed the procedures and showed up for the ceremony.
She writes about how annoyed she was that it was taking so long, that the check-in process seemed inefficient, that her cell-phone signal wouldn't work. She had things to do later. Finally, the ceremony began. As she watched a video of old snapshots – people of all nationalities embracing their loved ones as they achieved the dream of coming to America -- she looked around the room at her fellow immigrants, realizing that many of them came from countries that grant their citizens no rights, or worse than no rights.
The ceremony ended with the director of the office making a motion that all of the immigrants – now standing – be made U.S. citizens. It was seconded by another officer. And as she and the others recited the Pledge of Allegiance, Lickerman says she was sure she wasn't the only one crying.
With the value others have for the right to a single vote in mind, we should be inspired to follow their example. We should value our citizenship and the high price paid by others for our freedoms – and we show that by voting.
Early voting will continue next week. The Harrison County elections office at 415 E. Burleson St. will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Feb. 26 – 28. Additionally, the main office will open from 7 am. To 7 p.m., Thursday through Friday, March 1-2. Hallsville's Gold Hall and Waskom sub-courthouse will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 26-28, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 1-2.
The Harleton Community Center, Emergency Services District No. 9 Central Station in Elysian Fields and TJ Taylor Community Center in Karnack will open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 28, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 1-2.