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If you’re on the fence about whether or not you’ll vote, I’d like to share with you why I came to a very convicted opinion about the importance of each vote.

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I know what you’re thinking — oh, good, another “take action” column — and I bet you know what’s coming. I can’t believe I’m going to be the one saying it.

Everybody should gather information, get involved and vote.

I know we’re already sick of the signs and of the ads, but each vote remains important no matter how tiring the campaigns have become.

I was first talked into the importance of voting by an Australian. I was never much involved in politics because I felt the whole thing was a mess. It’s always seemed like most of the big-time politicians on TV come across as untruthful, and it gets hard to tell what’s true and what’s not.

I know what I want for myself, but I certainly wouldn’t presume to know what’s good for the country, or even the city for that matter.

I worked at a hostel in Seattle for a summer (think hotel, but cheaper and with shared bathrooms). The place attracted a lot of foreign travelers who were on a budget.

I also lived in the hostel in exchange for the work I did. We all became friends with the people who stayed, and a group of us went for a walk one evening to the nearby beach.

This Australian man gave me a serious talking to for not getting more involved in American politics. This was in 2008.

“Do you realize what’s going on with the housing crisis?” he asked. He went on to tell me how this American issue was affecting his community in Australia.

He was upset about the fact that while American politics affected his home, he couldn’t vote in American elections. Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to vote and wasn’t doing anything. He was personally offended.

I don’t actually know how much the housing crisis affected Australia. He was also being a bit rude, but I didn’t have a response. I had never thought of the importance of my vote on a world-wide level.

It’s not just about the affect our vote has on other countries, of course. And it’s not just the country as a whole — the lower levels are important.

It’s something I’ve come to believe very fully after attending local council and board meetings: Local officials make important decisions about issues that affect you and me in our daily lives.

It’s still a month away, but please vote.

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