Voters must be aware of new Constitution


Around election time, the general public treats itself to a vocabulary lesson. The terms “right,” “duty” and “responsibility” surge in use. While Americans generally don’t forget what these terms mean, election awareness causes high political passion in our conversation.

However, the “right” to vote remains exclusive from the “responsibility” of voting.

When people vote in the upcoming election, they will not just punch a hole next to the names Barack Obama or John McCain. This year, citizens in Illinois can vote for a Constitutional Convention.

Voters can randomly check a box, or they can make an informed and responsible decision.

A new convention would call a number of delegates from the state to draft a new model of government. And the reasons for voting for or against the proposition are equal in benefit and risk.

A new constitution could include a recall provision, cause redistricting and address corruption.

Still, a new convention could fall under the control of special interest groups. This may cause the loss of good qualities in the current constitution.

Illinois voters could gain a lot or lose a lot; there are no guarantees.

So, where does that leave voters who require guidance before they step into the booth?

They only have themselves.

President John Kennedy said in his 1961 Inaugural Address, “… ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

The least anyone can do is educate and be educated. Going into a voting booth without knowledge about the issues is not a right. Ignoring a section of the ballot due to lack of understanding is not responsible.

During the time between elections, a different vocabulary lesson takes place. The word “why” becomes the standard initiator to complaints.

In this election, those who complain have a chance to change. They can become voters and actively do something to change policy, or they can choose to keep the status quo. Either way, the opportunity to vote exists.

Take the time to learn the meaning of some key terms. Those who have a “right” to vote also have a “duty” to vote on the Constitutional Convention. “Responsibility” comes from educating yourself on this important issue.