BALOG COLUMN: Make time to make voice heard

Wayne modified 1/5/12 3:00 pm OK, maybe this isn't the most exciting election. None of these folks are ever on Leno or "The Daily Show," but this is still important. Need a reason to vote? Here are 10 of them: 10) You're unlikely to encounter long lines. If the previous municipal election is any indication, it won't be like it was in 2008, with people hunkering down with lawn chairs and tents and sending out for pizza. (OK, maybe it wasn't that way at your precinct.)

9) If you don't vote, you can't complain. Well, some probably will complain anyway, but they have no basis for it if they didn't participate in the process. And if your non-voting friends complain, you should shame them every chance you get. 8) If you're among the folks who requested and received annexation into the city of Charleston after the dissolution of the town of James Island, you really need to vote. You opted in, for whatever reason. So you need to hold up your end of the bargain. 7) You get revenge for having lost all that time to watching campaign commercials and reading campaign ads. Might as well put that information to good use. 6) A corollary to #7: You have no excuse not to be an informed voter. You can find all our political coverage at postandcourier.com/politics, and if you want a blueprint for how to vote, or how not to vote, you can read The Post and Courier editorial board's endorsements at postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials. The League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area also has a great non partisan website: http://lwvcharleston.org/elections.html. 5) It could be the last time you get to vote without showing a photo ID at the polls. Or maybe not. The Department of Justice still hasn't decided whether or not to sign off on the state's voter ID law, which may disenfranchise poor, rural, mostly African-American voters, or, according to an Associated Press story, white, older, affluent voters. Yes, it turns out that relocated retirees may be discriminated against because of the law as well. So the real question is, who's not negatively affected by the law -- anyone? 4) It sounds trite but it's nonetheless true: People in other parts of the world risk their lives to vote. All you're risking is possible boredom as you wait in line. Nobody's going to intimidate you at the polls, nobody's going to knock on your door in the middle of the night to arrest you because you voted a certain way. Don't take that for granted. 3) If you're a woman, vote because women only have been able to vote since 1920. 2) Unhappy with cruise ships, flooding, traffic, too much development, not enough development? Find a candidate who promises to do something about it, vote for him or her, and then hold that person accountable. 1) If you identify with Occupy wherever, the tea party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Green Party or no party, and you didn't protest or run for office, your next best way to make your voice heard is to vote.