By Jeffrey Meier
America’s next four years will be decided Nov. 4, when voters cast their ballots for a Republican John McCain - Sarah Palin ticket, or a Democratic Barack Obama – Joe Biden ticket.
Voters from across the nation will make history by either electing the first female vice president or the first African-American president.
This year’s election could very well be one of the most important elections in United States history, and each vote will be crucial as the candidate for presidency is selected.
There are many issues at stake in this election: the economy, energy, war in Iraq, health care, social security, homeland security, border security and education.
Both parties have different outlooks on these topics, which contribute to the importance of voting and the direction our country takes in 2009.
"It seems that we are at a major philosophical fork in our road," said Randy Weber, Texas state republican representative nominee. "Will the government be called upon to solve all our problems and take
care of us, or will we expect ‘good ole American capitalism’ to find the best and most efficient way to build a better mousetrap?"
On the other hand, Democrats believe America needs a complete makeover and turnaround.
"Changes that have been made the last few years have not been for the betterment of the country," said George Billups, volunteer for the Brazoria County Democratic Headquarters. "America is in turmoil and it is time for some change."
One issue members from both parties can agree on is the importance of voting.
"Voting is my personal right and it is made possible for all citizens, male or female," Billups said.
Democracy is a form of government that gives the power to the people in its society and the right to have a voice in the government. Voting is one of the main ways to exercise that democracy, which is also the backbone of our country.
"Voting makes citizens aware and focused on issues, candidates and solutions," Weber said. "It helps form the policies and direction of our community."
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 49 percent of registered voters ages 18-24 voted in the 2004 election. This year’s election could see an increase in young adult voters due to its historic nature and the efforts of nonpartisan campaigns such as "18 in ’08" and celebrity endorsements.
"It’s important for students to vote during their ‘developmental phase,’ at least the younger ones," Weber said. "It is my belief that if they develop the habit of getting and staying informed, then they will indeed endeavor to stay involved and help shape the process."
Leaders and issues on a national level are not the only ones at stake. City and state leaders will also be decided this upcoming election. Weber said local issues at stake are "illegal immigration, runaway property taxes and budget, mobility issues such as transportation and roads, education and funding."
If you are a first-time voter and do not have your voter’s registration card, you must bring one of the following: Texas driver’s license, Texas identification card issued by the Department of Safety, birth certificate, U.S. citizenship papers, U.S. passport, mail sent by a government agency, bank statement or identification deemed acceptable by the Secretary of State’s office.
"Will we be responsible for our productivity, decisions and future, or will the government be responsible for our ‘pursuit of life, liberty and happiness?’" Weber asked. "Remember, whatever the government can provide, it can also take away."
For more in-depth information on the issues this election and where each side stands, visit www.johnmccain.com and www.obama.com. Visit www.txdemocrats.org and www.texasgop.com for information on candidates running for state and city office.