To say it has been an interesting year politically would be an understatement. As I’ve talked and worked alongside politicians, thought leaders, and every day constituents, I have observed polarizing viewpoints. I’ve noticed some people are excited to see what the next President will do, while others have been completely turned off by both candidates.

The most frightening theme I have come across is that the best option for this particular election is to refrain from voting. I want to be very clear; there is no such thing as not voting.

Submitting a ballot means that an individual affirmatively supports a particular candidate or cause. However, when you do not exercise your democratic responsibility, you simply voted for the winner.

When you cast a ballot, not only have you voiced your opinion but you have also earned the right to criticize those that lead this country. Those that do not vote cannot critique our leaders because they have made no effort to determine the outcome.

This election, I’m specifically looking at four items that I believe will have an everlasting impact on our nation. For me, the following are critical when determining who I will vote for this year: Supreme Court appointments, rebuilding our national defense, strengthening our economy and reducing our debt, and lastly regaining our leadership role in the world. I suggest all voters make their own list, weigh the candidates, and then vote accordingly.

Finally, there is more at stake than just determining the presidency this November. There are local items within your own community that must be addressed. There are propositions that will be decided this year that could have a direct impact on your life.

I would hope that all eligible voters would take time over the next few weeks to become informed. With this knowledge, I would encourage everyone to then cast an informed ballot, regardless of how one feels about those running for President.