I am tired of begging and pleading with people to vote. If you don't want to vote, stay home. Seriously. It is probably better for humanity if you didn't participate in the process if you really don't want to. Stay home.

We live in the greatest country at the greatest moment in the history of the universe. All that is asked of us is to pay our taxes, don't mess with your neighbor's wife, don't rob the corner gas station, and vote. If that is too much for you to do, then perhaps you don't even deserve to call yourself an American. But it is your choice. You don't want to vote? Stay home. No one is going to force you and I am tired of pleading with you.

I will vote today. Like many of you, I wish I had better choices but at least I get to go and have my say. Most times I won't vote in all of the races on the ballot and I suspect today will be one of those times, but I will cast my ballot. Even an empty ballot is an expression of your views. A blank ballot is considered a protest vote. If you can't find your way to supporting anyone on the ballot then cast a blank ballot.

Generally, those who complain the loudest after an election are the ones who didn't vote. The best way to shut down a whiner is to ask if they voted. If they say no, be done with them. You don't vote, you have no right to complain.

I suspect that fewer than 50 percent of those who are eligible to vote in today's municipal elections will bother to do so. I think that is a sad commentary on our society but hey, it is what it is. Again, if you don't want to participate in the process, D-O N-O-T V-O-T-E (but you really should).

For those who do take their societal responsibilities seriously, I hope you join my colleagues Phil Paleologos and Chris McCarthy and myself for complete election coverage and analysis of the New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton municipal elections this evening from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on 1420 WBSM and on the free WBSM app.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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