Our Opinion: Voters, know your rights and don’t shirk your responsibility


If the voting process gets undermined in Pennsylvania next Tuesday, it’s highly unlikely to be the result of any Russian interference or domestic rigging.

No, the real concern in this presidential election year remains the perennial problem of adults simply not exercising their right to cast a ballot.

The nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania early last month condemned what its leadership called “damaging rhetoric” that could erode public trust and potentially discourage Election Day turnout. In a news release, league President Susan Carty called upon candidates and others to ensure voters know their rights.

“As a grassroots organization focused on increasing civic engagement by all Pennsylvanians, the league knows that the biggest threat to the integrity of our elections is low voter participation,” she said.

Apathy always keeps many eligible voters on the sidelines. But, this year especially, defenders of democracy are concerned that certain would-be voters could be turned off because they believe they will be subject to partisan bullying.

Pedro A. Cortés, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of State, released a guest column last week in which he addressed, among other things, the issues of voter intimidation and “discriminatory conduct.”

“If you experience intimidation, please report it immediately to the county board of elections and the district attorney’s office,” he wrote. “Or call the Department of State at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3662) or the U.S. Department of Justice’s Voting Section at 1-800-253-3931.”

Voters can find additional details about their rights by visiting Everyone.votesPA.com. Brochures available on the site include “Top 5 Things Every Pennsylvania Voter Should Know for the 2016 Election” and “Everyone VotesPA 2016 Voter Guide.”

Other helpful information for voters can be found at the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania website, palwv.org. Or contact Luzerne County’s Bureau of Elections by going to the county’s website, www.luzernecounty.org, or calling 570-825-1715.

Keep democracy strong. Vote wisely – in this, and every, election.