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No excuses: Vote!

People will offer varying excuses for not voting today, none of them viable.

There are 1,959,055 citizens registered to vote in Connecticut - 712,985 Democrats, 407,520 Republicans, 20,161 registered with minor parties and 818,389 unaffiliated, those who choose no party designation. Since Jan. 1, 90,259 potential new voters have registered.

Av Harris, communications director for the Office of the Secretary of the State, said about 55 percent of those registered will bother to vote, if trends from recent elections hold true. Include adults who don't even bother to register, and only about 40 percent of eligible state citizens will participate in the election.

That's pathetic.

Certainly, the extremely negative tone of the campaign for governor has damaged voter enthusiasm. The campaigns of both Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Tom Foley have done such a great job presenting deleterious caricatures of each other that many people are left with the opinion that neither one deserves the job.

However, one of them will win. Fiscal, tax and economic policies will be significantly different depending on which man becomes governor. By staying home in disgust, a citizen delegates that decision to those who bother to vote.

Which brings up another excuse - it doesn't matter who wins. Actually, it does matter, a lot.

Upset with the governor's race aside, it is just one of several decisions for voters to make. Also decided today will be Connecticut's representatives to the U.S. Congress, all the members of the state House and Senate, and the state positions of attorney general, treasurer, comptroller and secretary of the state.

Certain towns have ballot initiatives, including New London and Norwich.

Some people will say they were too busy to vote or meant to but just didn't get around to it. Few are truly that busy. The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. It may not be convenient to get up early enough to vote before work or take the time afterwards, but few will find it impossible.

The Day supports the proposed state constitutional amendment on today's ballot that would allow the General Assembly to consider law changes making it easier to access absentee ballots and allow early voting, both now blocked by the Connecticut Constitution. While improved voter convenience would be a good thing, inconvenience is a dubious rationale for failing to participate.

So cut the excuses, get out and vote and be a participant in our democracy, not a bystander.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.


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