Catch election passion tonight at the first of three forums |

Catch election passion tonight at the first of three forums

If nothing else, Robert Israelsky is passionate. He’s the kind of guy who speaks his mind, and what he’s been talking about of late, at least to me and I suspect most everyone else he runs into, is the upcoming election.To be honest, I don’t know what Robert’s politics are, though I suspect on many issues he may be a bit more liberal than me. But two things we absolutely agree upon is the need for every American to take part in the electoral process and the need for individuals to cast an informed vote.Robert’s one of the organizers of a series of forums scheduled prior to the Nov. 2 election. The first is 6 p.m. today at the Summit County Community and Senior Center just south of Frisco. The subject will be ballot issues – the amendments, referendums and “noncandidate” elections on the ballot. Perhaps most important to those from Summit County are the school bond election and the mill levy. There will be speakers at the forum that will detail the ballot issues.”A unique collaboration of groups are putting on the three public forums to educate, inform, register, engage and energize our communities and the voters who live here,” he says.In Robert’s mind, people should be excited about an election. He’s right.

“With the daily focus on Iraq the whole world is constantly being reminded that the right we have to vote here in America is unfortunately not the case for so many others elsewhere in the world,” he says. The election process, he adds, helps to define our nation. “It’s a reason to celebrate.”Robert will be the first to acknowledge that voter turnout in recent years is nothing to celebrate.”All elections and especially the presidential election are so sacred to what we are that we tend to underplay the process itself. Perhaps that is why the number of people casting votes is so low,” he says.In the last presidential election only 51 percent of eligible American voters made it to the polls. In Summit County it was 49 percent.Robert would like to see that change, which is one reason why those attending the Wednesday night forum can register to vote while there.To register in Colorado an individual must be a resident for at least 30 days, 18 years old or older on Nov. 2, and not confined as a prisoner. Individuals must register by Oct. 4 to be able to vote in the November general election.Robert says the organizers of the forums have a simple desire – to increase voter turnout and ensure that voters are as knowledgeable about the issues as possible.”I think it’s great, too, that our first event is a prelude to the following night’s (Thursday’s) first televised presidential debate,” he notes.

As he talks he warms quickly to his subject.”We owe it to ourselves if not to those less fortunate than ourselves to register, to vote and to vote informed in the highest turnout ever this year.”Let’s make voting a habit that everyone can be proud of, but especially the youth of Summit County who need to become part of the electoral process. They need to learn that voting is not just a right or responsibility but a cause for celebration.”What better time to celebrate our freedom than at the time of year when we elect the country’s next president,” he says.The next two forums are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 8, and Tuesday, Oct. 19.The Oct. 8 forum will focus on the American role in the world and on global, security and energy issues. It will be at the Keystone Center from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.The Oct. 19 forum will be more of a traditional candidates forum with four local candidates participating and four candidates running for state office. It begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be at the Summit County Community and Senior Center.

Perhaps most important to Robert is involving younger people in the process and getting them excited about politics and government. It’s one reason why he’s included members of the Summit High School Debate Team in the discussions at the forums.He says he wants to instill in young people the sense of excitement he has over politics.”The investment in our young people to get involved in the process of voting and participating in their community is an investment that will pay huge dividends as they become involved citizens through the remainder of their lives,” he tells me.His passion is contagious. I hope between now and Election Day he infects everyone with whom he comes in contact and the voter turnout on Nov. 2 breaks a record.For more information on Summit County issues and candidates, visit Jim Morgan can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 240, or

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