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Dear Editor:

As Secretary of State, I serve Nebraska as Chief Election Officer, and am concerned about the national predictions of low voter turnout in our primary and general elections this year. In fact, only 31% of California’s registered voters went to the polls for their March 5 primary election--a record low. Last year many states experienced similar voting trends, including one state senate race in Georgiathat saw only 3% of those registered actually vote. Truthfully, that stuns me!

I have lived during the terms of 12 Presidents of the United States, and have seen the sacrifices of many generations over 50 years as freedom has been defended. We all know the war on terrorism is far from over, and that the price we may ultimately pay at home and abroad may yet be staggering in the defense of our freedoms. The terrorist attack f September 11 is no less a defining moment for America than Pearl Harbor. It is a time for all Americans to unite and show their confidence in their system of democracy.

Citizens have been voting in decreasing numbers over several decades, and national turnout is now less than 50% in presidential elections. In Nebraska, our 18-29 year olds are voting at less than 20% in the last two presidential elections. We need to send a signal as citizens of the world’s greatest democracy that we stand united in the defense of our freedoms, and in our willingness individually to meet our obligations as citizens. We need to vote in record numbers, and Nebraska can be first in sending that message across America and around the world.


John Gale

Secretary of State