There likely has not been a time when the simple act of voting has been so important. Voting is always important, of course, but allegations of rigged elections and voter disenfranchisement that have dominated headlines in recent years have raised questions about the integrity of the election process.

The answer to those concerns is not to refuse to participate but to turn out in great numbers and demand that the process is fair and honest for all.

There were times when only white male property owners could vote. Times have changed, and anyone who meets the qualifications can register and participate in the electoral process. We do not demand that people vote. In a republic such as ours, it is your right to sit it out if you so choose. When you don't participate, you surrender your voice, so I would always recommend that you vote, but only if you want to.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

Some will decide not to vote today, but they should or be prepared to explain why they didn't. Our country asks little more of us than to participate in selecting those who will govern at the local, state, and national levels. Many times people will say that their vote doesn't mean anything. It's all the same. They never listen to me anyway. Those are generally some of the best excuses to cover our laziness or disinterest.

I really don't care if you vote; in fact, it might be better if "low information voters" stayed home.

Never before has it been easier to vote. All that is missing for many is the desire to make an effort. I feel silly each election day, pleading with folks to participate in the process, but when people lose interest in shaping the system, we get what we have today: a system that is in shambles. Maybe people who opt not to vote should have to explain in a YouTube video why they chose not to.

Don't vote today if you don't want to, but take a moment and tell me why you chose not to.

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 and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

LOOK: 50 famous memes and what they mean

With the infinite number of memes scattered across the internet, it's hard to keep track. Just when you've grasped the meaning of one hilarious meme, it has already become old news and replaced by something equally as enigmatic. Online forums like Tumblr, Twitter, 4chan, and Reddit are responsible for a majority of meme infections, and with the constant posting and sharing, finding the source of an original meme is easier said than done. Stacker hunted through internet resources, pop culture publications, and databases like Know Your Meme to find 50 different memes and what they mean. While the almost self-replicating nature of these vague symbols can get exhausting, memes in their essence can also bring people closer together—as long as they have internet access.

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420