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We’ve almost reached the end of election season with less than one week to go before the polls open Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Thanks to the Permanent Early Voter List, some residents already cast their ballots selecting who they want to see lead us into the future locally, regionally and nationally.

Others prefer participating in the age-old tradition of casting their vote in person, and they will make their way to vote centers on election day.

Sedona Red Rock News Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieSadly, many Americans don’t answer the call of civic duty.

They say they’re either too busy, not informed or feel that it doesn’t matter — their vote is only one.

None of these are valid excuses for not participating.

We’re all busy. We live in a busy world where we work, raise families and try to enjoy some leisure time.

Voting doesn’t take long, and early voting — the ballot arrives in the mailbox and can be returned the same way — invalidates any excuse of not having time to go the polls.

Becoming informed does require more time, but the facts are at your fingertips.

Newspapers and government websites offer facts about propositions while a wealth of information can be found on candidates running for office at every turn.

The trick with candidates is discerning fact from fiction. Educating yourself about the issues makes it easier to see through a campaign promise lacking substance.

It’s true we only get one vote, but those single votes collectively make up the whole that will decide the future, and if you don’t vote you are choosing not to participate in the process.

Obviously, not everyone chooses to be involved, and that’s their decision. However, when laws and statutes don’t reflect those people’s values or beliefs they have only themselves to blame.

My motto has always been if you don’t vote, you can’t gripe.

If you haven’t cast your ballot, be sure to head to the polls Nov. 6 and be a part of shaping the future.

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