Election Administrator Tells Students Why Their Votes Matter


Election Administrator William Duffy walks students through different aspects of the voting registration process. (Photo by Kirsten Dorman)

Kirsten Dorman, Editor in Chief

According to FairVote, a non-profit organization, less than half of registered voters participate in midterm elections. William Duffy, Election Administrator of the Warren County Board of Elections (WCBE), wants to change this.  

This September, Duffy met with Advanced Placement Government and Politics classes at Warren Hills to discuss the importance of getting involved with local politics.

“Every election is important.  There is absolutely no reason not to vote,” said Duffy.  “There is an issue for everyone out there. These issues will be decided by people who are elected to office.  They may be a school board member, the mayor, or the president of the United States. Your voice on who is making the decisions concerning these issues should be heard.” 

Duffy emphasized that, while some students may not feel that their vote matters, his experience as a part of the WCBE has proven otherwise.

“In the June Primary of 2013, the incumbent sheriff defeated his challenger by only 18 votes!  Just think of what would be different if the challenger had been able to persuade 19 or more people to vote,” said Duffy.  “There are many cases on the local level where someone is elected by less than 10 votes. Try telling the losing candidates that votes don’t count.”

The issue for some students, though, isn’t “Why should I vote?” — it’s “How do I vote?”

According to Duffy, “It is easy to register to vote.  For example, you can register at the Motor Vehicle Commission when you apply for a permit or driver’s license.  If you can’t or don’t want to vote at your polling place, there is a Mail-In Ballot available. You can also vote in person at the Warren County Clerk’s office almost six weeks before election day.”

Duffy stressed that affecting change in your community isn’t just limited to voting.

“There are many ways to affect change in a community.  Volunteerism is a great method for this. There are service, environmental, religious and political groups that are shedding light on several issues or helping people affected by it,” he said.   “Not only will you gain more insight concerning the issue, but you will also be exposed to alternate solutions in alleviating it.” 

At the heart of the American voting process, Duffy pointed out, is a celebration of individualism.

“What makes our election process exceptional and unique is that you have the right to vote if you are a U.S. citizen and have reached the age of 18.  When registering, no one is looking at your gender, race, or religious background,” said Duffy. “You can enter the polling place and not be harassed.  Too many people take this privilege for granted.”