The Most Powerful Four-Letter Word

Voting is our single most important right, because without it none of the others are secure. As with so many of our rights, exercising this one isn’t easy. I’ve heard people say, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about the candidates or the issues. You still need to get out to the polls.” I disagree. If you don’t know why you’re choosing a specific person or position, all you’re doing is showing up and making a random mark. That’s not voting.

These words are from my friend, the local writer Cheryl Dietrich, from her 2004 WNC Woman article “The Most Powerful Four-Letter Word.”

The emphasis in that last sentence is mine. It’s somehow almost easy to do your civic duty, robotlike, showing up at the polls like a good girl only to find yourself utterly ignorant as how to make some of the choices you’re faced with. Here in WNC, Taylor-Shuler is the big race, and most of us have had our minds made up for weeks. But what about the race for sheriff? The judicial races? The judges we elect this week could someday advance to the highest court in the land — we voters need to choose well when we choose them. Will these people reflect what we believe? The elections are Tuesday, November 7. Have you educated your vote yet?

Have you made your decisions in the judicial races, including the Martin/Hunter race where the Democratic party does not seem to be endorsing the Democratic candidate? Have you made your choice(s) (you may vote for two, as two supervisors serve) for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor?

If you live in WNC, you can check out 2006 sample ballots here:

Here are the Democratic candidates:

And here are the Republican candidates:

And here’s a list of regional and national information sources:

The Mountain Xpress 2006 Election Guide

NC State Board of Elections Nonpartisan Judicial Voter Guide (PDF file; download Adobe Reader here)

NC Politics

general WNC voting resources
The Buncombe County Board of Elections:
Project Vote Smart:

African-American voting info
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation:
Black Electorate:

under 25
Rock the Vote:
The League of Young Voters:

Republican National Committee:
North Carolina Republican Party:
Buncombe County Republicans:

The Democratic Party:
North Carolina Democratic Party:
Buncombe County Democratic Party:


The Cato Institute:

Sierra Club:
North Carolina Conservation Network:

Equality NC:

women’s rights/abortion rights
National Organization for Women:
Emily’s List (a directory of pro-choice woman candidates):

Kids Vote — Buncombe County

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