Gov. Larry Hogan grabbed plenty of media attention for announcing that he wrote in Ronald Reagan’s name on his 2020 presidential ballot. Hogan is a Republican who is also a frequent critic of President Donald Trump.
The Maryland governor has also been mentioned as a potential 2024 presidential contender.
We do not begrudge anyone’s vote. Hogan is free to vote for whomever he wants to and he is free to tell others of that choice.
We just want to remind ourselves and others that voters have protected rights to keep who they vote for private. Our secret ballot system of voting is an important pillar of our democracy.
It allows voters to vote their conscience without having to tell their spouse, parents, coworkers, friends, employers or media and social media of their choices.
Our American system of voting is in place so voters are not intimidated, pressured or shamed into how they cast their ballots.
Imagine Twitter, Facebook, the traditional media and even our workplaces if we all disclosed our voting preferences or if we were pressured or required to do so.
We have the right up and down ballot to vote for who we think is best for the job, who best represents us and our values and who will be best for the country. Our individual electoral choices might not please our families, spouses, employers or all the very loud and haranguing voices on social media. This is why the secret ballot and our individual and private choices are so important.
Our Election Day choices should include which candidates will be best for our communities, the economy and public health as we work through the next chapters of the coronavirus. We desperately need to see more specific information from all candidates — and frankly all officeholders — on how they will save jobs and small businesses decimated by COVID-19 and what they will do if the virus’ situations improves or worsens.
We are not seeing enough of those discussions on the campaign trail, in state capitals or at local council meetings.
We need to continue to be safe and mindful of where hospitalizations, deaths and positivity rates are headed when it comes to the virus.
But our economy, jobs, mental health and liberties cannot take another widespread shutdown. Those are realities we must be ready to address before and after the election.
There are many local businesses and jobs here on the Eastern Shore and throughout the country still threatened because of the virus, its closures and pullbacks in consumer and business spending. We need solutions and new ideas on this front all the way from our small towns up to the White House.
While Hogan’s vote is not a surprise considering his criticisms of Trump, we also see a lot of virtue signaling going on as we head toward Election Day whether it is on social media or signs in front yards. Everyone is free to put whatever campaign sign they want to in their yards. Those signs should not be disturbed.
We just want to make sure voters know they can vote their conscience and keep that to themselves.
It is your vote and your ballot. No one else’s.