When my wife and I went to vote early recently, two of our grandchildren were with us.

This brought to mind the times when I was a child and went with my dad to the voting place in our neighborhood.

He would pick me up at school, and we would go directly to the polling place so he could cast his ballot. (My mom always voted earlier in the day.)

My parents’ example has stayed with me. This is one of the most important ways that we exercise our citizenship.

Even if I estimate that my candidate has little chance of winning, I know it is important to express my point of view.

We are less than a week away from midterm elections. Early voting has been going on in many places for a couple of weeks.

I encourage you to cast your vote for the candidates of your choice. I am not arguing that you vote for a particular candidate or party, but I do suggest that you ask yourself these questions about each candidate as you decide.

  1. Would you be willing to have this person as a guest in your home? Is this a person you would enjoy spending time with and who would enrich the lives of your family members?
  2. Does the candidate respect every person in their constituency regardless of social or financial status? A representative does not have to agree with everyone in their constituency, but elected officials represent all the people in their area, not just one particular group and not just those who voted for them. Can they listen to and respond to dissenting voices in a constructive way?
  3. Is this candidate more concerned about people than issues? Issues change over time, and an elected representative may be asked to act on legislation that impacts our changing society in unexpected ways. People matter more than issues.
  4. Do the person’s public actions reflect a moral center? Does this person appear to know right from wrong? All of us make mistakes in life, but is the candidate willing to admit his or her errors and acknowledge these with a contrite spirit?
  5. Does this candidate have real-world experience? Have they been in positions where they have earned a salary, supported themselves and a family (if they have one) and worked with different types of people? The level of responsibility is not as important as the experience of working with others to accomplish a task.

Whatever your decisions may be, I hope you will prayerfully consider your choices and then vote. Voting is both a privilege and a responsibility.

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared on Harrison’s blog, Barnabas File. It is used with permission.

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