Vote Alabama America is listening

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2008

With Alabama&8217;s first early presidential primary scheduled for Feb. 5, America is listening to the voice of Alabamians.

They are listening because our votes have basically been cast after the fact in past presidential primaries.

For years, Alabamians have had little say and less attention for our thoughts and opinions regarding who our President would be, so this year is our chance to be heard.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans have decided who their nominee will be at this point, and how our state votes will actually matter to them both.

Our votes will play a major role in deciding the nominees of both parties.

We need to take advantage of this responsibility and opportunity to vote in higher numbers than ever because America is listening &8212; not just to Iowa and New Hampshire, but to Alabama.

It is an opportunity for Alabama to draw positive national attention to itself as a bellwether of democracy.

It is our turn to have a voice, cast a vote and help decide a national issue &8212; who will be the Presidential nominees in 2008.

Since many of the candidates have visited our state during the past year, it is my hope that people have had a chance to meet them and judge for themselves who to support.

With an increased focus on our state, because of it being our first early presidential primary, hopefully our citizens have been motivated to research (more than usual) each of the candidates and their positions on the issues of importance to them.

What is most important for Alabama is that we turn out in large numbers to exercise our right to vote and have a voice in the national arena.

This year our votes will not only promote democracy, but they will promote our state and a positive image for it as well.

It is imperative that we turn out as many voters as possible to represent Alabama on both sides of the political aisle so that the rest of America can hear us clearly, loudly and strongly.

Vote, Alabama, vote &8212; because this time, for the first time, all of America is listening.

Beth Chapman is Alabama Secretary of State and a Shelby County native.