By Tom Ehrich

Thoughts after voting (number 6 in my precinct at 7:00am):

First, I am grateful for the right and freedom to vote. Many people sacrificed for that right. My long-ago ancestors came here to escape a corrupt aristocratic and church-dominated system in England, arrogant Prussian militarism, and poverty in Norway. More immediate ancestors served their country and towns in many ways. I have tried to serve. All of that enabled me to walk unimpeded into a voting booth.

Second, I understand that many people won't vote today. I accept their freedom to stay away. I don't understand it. The issues are too critical, the right to help decide them too precious. But I accept non-voting. I just hope they don't whine about the results.

Third, I accept that many fools will vote today. (In some eyes, I am one of those fools.) I accept that some will vote preferences contrary to mine. That's democracy.

Fourth, what I cannot accept is the systematic efforts to deny voting to some of my fellow citizens. From clever gerrymandering to cynical voter-prevention rules to cheating to thuggery at the polls, denying the franchise to some is simply wrong. It is un-American. It deserves full scrutiny and legal consequences.

Voting matters.