Vote: Voting is both a right and a responsibility Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Ever since I was old enough to vote, I have always voted in every election. I think of it as both a right and a responsibility.

On November 6, we will have a midterm election. These happen every four years near the midpoint of a president’s four-year term of office.

Midterm elections

Federal offices up for election during the midterms include all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and the full terms of 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate. In addition, 36 of the 50 states will elect governors to four-year terms. There are also other state and local elections being held.

So, this is an important election. Unfortunately, midterm elections usually generate lower voter turnout than presidential elections. Over the past 60 years, presidential elections had turnouts of 50 to 60 percent of the electorate, while only about 40 percent go to the polls in midterm elections.

Yet, the midterm elections can have a major impact on our government at all levels. At the national level, the election will determine which party will have the majority in the House and Senate.

Bishops urge faithful citizenship

Our bishops on the national and state levels are encouraging Catholic citizens to vote. In their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (available at, the U.S. bishops say, “Catholic voters should use the framework of Catholic social teaching to examine candidates’ positions on issues affecting human life and dignity as well as issues of justice and peace, and they should consider candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance.”

In a letter to Catholics in our state, the Wisconsin bishops say, “As another election season approaches, we write to encourage all Catholics to reflect on their role as faithful citizens. In an age marked by divisiveness and confusion about what is true and good, it is all the more necessary to return to the Church’s guiding principles.”

Get educated

Our Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) has developed a variety of materials on faithful citizenship available on the WCC website (, including information on forming consciences for faithful citizenship, suggested questions to ask candidates, and information on Catholic social teaching. I encourage voters to take time to study these materials and educate themselves on where candidates stand on key issues.

Another idea is to attend candidate forums. In Madison, Edgewood High School is hosting a gubernatorial candidates’ forum on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Krantz Center at 2219 Monroe St. All six candidates for governor have been invited to attend.

Register to vote, if you haven’t already. Contact your local city or county clerk or go to In Wisconsin, you may also register at the polls on Election Day. You must provide a proof of residence document when registering to vote.

And above all, please vote! I always feel good after I vote and am proud to wear an “I Voted” sticker. You can, too!