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Long IslandColumnistsRick Brand

Vote Tuesday — it’s that simple

Seventh-graders at Seattle Girls' School arrive at Westlake

Seventh-graders at Seattle Girls' School arrive at Westlake Park on Oct. 20, 2016, where they delivered speeches on the importance of voting. Photo Credit: Seattle Times / TNS / Ken Lambert

Vote. It’s that simple.

Don’t dare say your vote Tuesday will not matter. Not this year. Not when the choices are so stark. Our votes will change American history, no matter who wins.

Vote because Nassau and Suffolk counties alone have nearly 2 million people age 18 and older who registered to cast ballots Tuesday. In elections past, turnout of about 65 percent was the norm. That means nearly 700,000 voters could go MIA, inexcusable when servicemen and women are dying around the world to protect that sacred right, which is what truly makes America great.

Vote if black lives matter, or law and order is paramount. Vote if the right to bear arms is crucial or you’re more worried that laws are needed to keep guns from getting in the wrong hands. Vote if you oppose abortion or want to protect a woman’s right to choose.

Vote if you want to scrap Obamacare or make sure insurance companies cannot cancel insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. Vote if you want immigration reform that will create a path to citizenship for those who are undocumented, or if you want a wall at the Southern border. Jobs, rebuilding the economy, taxes, foreign policy, the next Supreme Court justices and Washington’s inability to deal with these and other issues are all in play.

Vote because the pundits and pollsters, who have crowded the airwaves for almost two years, no longer count.

Those who conduct polls make a host of assumptions on turnout — about which voters will show up and what they will do. But voters hold the ultimate power. And if you simply show up and do your civic duty in numbers that are five, 10 or even 15 percent higher than expected, it will turn polls upside down and send an unmistakable message on the path the nation should follow.

Vote because it is no excuse that the candidates are flawed.

The Founding Fathers had faults, making deals to make slaves count as three-fifths of a person for purposes of representation, but keeping them as property with no right to vote.

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and had an affair with one. Presidential peccadillos go back to at least Warren Harding, and continued through Bill Clinton.

Taking different private and public positions also is nothing new: Franklin Delano Roosevelt behind the scenes sought to help arm Britain against the Nazis while publicly downplaying the issue to a reluctant public.

Vote because the state’s new voting machines leave plenty of room for voters to write in a choice of their own. If you think that Vice President Joe Biden or GOP vice presidential contender Mike Pence or House Speaker Paul Ryan would be a better choice for president, go ahead. The downside is that your ballot won’t count for much other than a protest vote. Nine states simply do not permit write-ins. Others such as Ohio require a potential write-in to file a certificate of candidacy beforehand. But a large numbers of write-ins could send a powerful message of dissatisfaction.

Vote because no one can rig the election if we all show up and cast our ballots.

And in the end, vote because the whole purpose of this country is to give every voter a voice and remaining mute is, well, just un-American.

So please vote.

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