Starting Wednesday, the complaining is bound to begin. There are several hotly contested issues on the ballots Tuesday, not to mention a presidential election which, like every presidential election, is historic.

While those on the winning sides will be pleased, people are fairly evenly split on a lot of these issues and nearly as many people will be unhappy with the outcome as are happy with what comes to pass. So come Wednesday, complaining is likely.

This is a good thing. Even the happiest of marriages is beset from time to time with disagreement, and the closest of families have their points of contention, so expecting everyone to agree on matters of public policy and who should be in charge of carrying out that policy is just plain silly.

This is the reason why, irritating, rude and imperfect as elections are, they remain the best and fairest way for us to decide who'll be in charge of managing public affairs and what courses of action should be taken on particular ballot questions. In the case of presidential elections, the decisions made on election day set the tone for the coming four years, which is enough time for the person chosen to make a difference, good or bad.


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At the end of four years (or two years for U.S. representatives or six years for senators) it's time to decide if the decisions of the last election were on target, or if it's time for a shift. The great thing is, everyone who votes gets to decide for him or herself whether to hold fast or change.

Either way, every vote makes a difference. Those on the losing side stand as reminders to the winners that differences of opinion remain and there are others standing by should the winners fall short of expectations.

The people who make no difference, though, are the ones who can't be bothered to vote. While it's within their right to neglect their responsibility, any complaints they may have will certainly ring hollow.

Be heard by Tuesday. If you didn't vote early, polls are open across Maryland from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Stop by and use the one where you're registered to vote.