Michael N. Searles



A habit is defined as a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Habits often have bad connotations. S.J. Scott made a list of 282 Bad Habits labeled “The Ultimate List of Bad Habits.” The first ten are common sense items with which we can identify: Being more than five minutes late for an appointment; picking your nose; an overly affectionate public display of affection; picking your teeth in public; overusing slang and “text speak;” Checking iPhone/iPad at dinner; eating with mouth open; having alligator arms (never picking up checks); popping/ snapping gum in public; and talking during movies.

Stephen R. Covey became a millionaire telling and showing people how habits could enrich their lives. His 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is in its 30th Anniversary Edition. There are bad habits and good ones. Voting is one of the good ones. There are parents who have made it a habit to take their kids with them to the polls to vote. This was done to instill the idea that voting matters. For many of us, once we reached the legal voting age, we signed up and missed very few, if any elections.

For some, voting has not always been accessible. There are readers of this column who personally were denied the right to vote at their local registrar’s office. Some readers have parents or grandparents who were denied the right to exercise the franchise. Voting should never be taken for granted. I have a friend who said her husband was a CME Christian. The only time you saw him in church was at Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter.

There are folks who only vote every four years in presidential elections. There are folks who enter the voting booth and vote for one candidate and leave all the others spaces blank. There is another group that vote in general elections but not in primaries. On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the General Primary Election will be held in Georgia. While federal, state, and county partisan elections will determine who will compete in November’s General Election, there also are Nonpartisan General Elections. Justices for the Supreme Court of Georgia, Judges for the Court of Appeals; and Judges for the Superior Court–Augusta Judicial Circuit will be held. Members will be elected for the Burke County Board of Education in Districts 1, 2 and 5. For those on the Nonpartisan General Election ballot, the Primary is the election to determine who will fill the office. If you fail to vote in the Primary, you lose the opportunity to select who will represent you on the Nonpartisan ballot.

Two races for the Superior Court–Augusta Judicial Circuit positions are contested. This means that voters will select who will serve in this capacity. The school board has three seats open but only the District 1 seat is contested. The candidates in District 2 and 5 are running unopposed but in District 1, Dr. Ruby Saxon Myles is running against Leonard Hill.

Each candidate has presented their platform in the pages of The True Citizen newspaper; made presentations at public forums, and posted signs across the county. As citizens, we should review each candidate’s record, give some thought or prayer to your selection, and vote. Advanced Absentee In-Person voting began on May 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Historic Burke County Courthouse and will continue through Friday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have not advance voted, Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 24, 2022 and voting will take place at your local precinct. If you have any question as to the location of your precinct, call the Burke County Board of Elections at 706/554-7457 to check where you should vote.

Some Burke Countians already have voted but we cannot rest on our laurels. Our job is not finished until we call, text, and e-mail our friends and family members to remind them to vote. Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy with many having died to exercise that right. Voting is a habit we must pass on to future generations along with the story of what it has cost.

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