Today is the deadline to register to vote if you want to participate in New Bedford's general election on November 2, 2021. City Hall is open until 8 p.m. tonight to accommodate any last-minute residents who might want to become a part of the solution rather than just complain about the problems the city is facing. If you have yet to register to vote, I sincerely hope you do so today.

There is no mayor's race on the municipal ballot as Mayor Jon Mitchell is halfway through the city's first four-year mayoral term. Mitchell will face re-election in two years, should he decide to run again, but there are contested races throughout the city this year that should draw voters to the polls. Hopefully, that will include a lot of new voters who meet tonight's registration deadline.

Voting is important. Too many people don't bother to vote, claiming their vote doesn't matter anyway. It really does. Your vote is your voice. I suspect that many of those folks are simply too lazy to vote or to learn about the candidates and the issues. That's unfortunate because some of them tend to be the loudest critics of those elected to serve.

Too often, people will say that elected officials never do what they want them to do. That they never pay attention to what the voters want. Well, then those people should get involved. Run for local office. Be that receptive elected official that hears the people's concerns. It all begins, though, with registering to vote and then participating in the system. How far you go with it after that is up to you.

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Don't be one of those non-voters who lets everyone else do the heavy lifting. Register by tonight's deadline and then get out and vote on election day. This is your circus, and these are your monkeys, so get involved.

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. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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