As most of us are aware, this Tuesday, June 5, is the primary election. In preparing for my column this week, I reviewed the history of voting rights and the constitutional amendments that have been established to give all citizens the right to vote.

When our nation was first established, not everyone had the right to vote. Throughout history, many have fought so that each of us has the right to vote. The 15th Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1870, granted African American men the right to vote. The 19th Amendment, ratified on August 18, 1920, granted American women the right to vote. The 26th Amendment, signed into law in July of 1971 lowered the voting age to 18. There have been other amendments, but the 15th, 19th and 26th were the most impactful.

I admit I have taken my right to vote for granted during my lifetime, but I am now determined to exercise my right. If you are a parent, I want to encourage you to get your son or daughter registered to vote when they turn 18. My son turned 18 in 2016 and he is a registered voter. He and I went together the first time he voted. I wanted to be sure he understood the process and importance so he will continue to exercise his right to vote.

I have had the pleasure of meeting several of our candidates that are running for local office and we have some wonderful, dedicated candidates who have poured their heart, soul and countless hours into this election process. I want to thank each of the candidates for being willing to serve, and I want to encourage each of you to honor them by going to the polls on Tuesday and voting for the candidate of your choice.

Kim Patterson is publisher of The Sand Mountain Reporter. She can be contacted at kpatterson@sandmountainreporter.com.

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