By Susan Plough, MSN, PHCNS-BC, CCM

October brings crisp, cool nights and Halloween frights. If your heart skips a beat at the thought of carving pumpkins or watching Hocus Pocus 2 you are not alone. Halloween is a time for voting for your favorite costume, your favorite pumpkin spice something, and the midterm elections.

While voting for Halloween favorites is fun, to many people the idea of voting in the midterms is a ghoulish idea. But voting is an important right for all US citizens. Every election allows us to actively participate in our own democracy by making our voice heard about how we want government to run. The reality is that as many as half of eligible voters in the US still don’t participate in the election process. That is the scariest thing of all! There are many reasons why people do not vote, especially in the midterms. Many think it is all just a bunch of hocus pocus and that their vote would not make a difference or would not impact anything in the government. The fact is that voting is one of the few ways for citizens to push forward policies they support. All elections have consequences and every vote matters.

Voting gives you the power to make key decisions on the quality of life you want for yourself, your family and your community. It is a chance to stand up for the issues you care about. While midterm elections may not be as high profile as presidential elections, they are still important, and their outcome can have a significant impact on issues at a much higher level. When you do not vote your voice cannot be heard. When many people choose not to vote it means that local issues are determined by a limited group of voters, making a single vote even more statistically meaningful. While certain propositions may be popular and therefore seem like a sure thing, they can fail if people stay home. Voting is your chance to choose how your tax dollars are spent. This happens both through your vote on specific propositions and ballot measures, as well as those that are elected to leadership positions that commit to supporting key social services in our communities.

Do you want to make a positive impact in your community? Voting gives you that chance! To have a say in who gets to determine social agendas, it is essential to vote. So, to quote the Sanderson Sisters, “Gather your coven” and go out there and make your voice be heard.

Bio: Susan has a diverse background in both Nursing and in Case Management. She has served as Executive Director of Medical Management with Physician Hospital Organizations as well as Director of Hospital Case Management for both large multi-hospital healthcare systems and smaller Case Management departments in the Midwest. She is a Board-Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Community Health as well as a Certified Case Manager. Currently, she is on the Faculty for Indiana University School of Nursing and does private geriatric case management for Senior 1 Care. Susan is Chairman of the National Public Policy Committee for CMSA and is a Board Member and Past President of the Central Indiana Chapter of CMSA. She has published nationally and has presented both locally and nationally on case management topics.

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