After a grueling marathon of politicking, an avalanche of ads, and enough soundbites to drive one crazy, Election Day is here.
And it didn't come a moment too soon.
Today, millions of Americans will go to the polls, and perhaps by late tonight, we will know, unofficially, who will occupy the Oval Office starting in 2013, as well as who will be our state and federal legislators for the coming years.
As irritating as the campaigning might be, it's the price we pay for living in a republic where we freely can cast ballots to pick our representatives in free, fair elections. It's a privilege many around the world do not enjoy.
The outcome of this election will affect the policies and direction of our nation for the years to come, so it's important that you make sure your voice is heard.
Indications are that the race for the White House could be close. If so, it magnifies the need for all registered voters to cast their ballots. The race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney likely depends on which campaign is able to get more of its base to the polls.
If the race turns out to be as tight as some polls project, we might not know who won until all of the ballots such as those from service members overseas are counted in the days and weeks ahead, although we hope our nation avoids a repeat of the 2000 election controversies.
By now, most Americans have grown weary of the campaign marathon. But the finish line is in sight. Now our country needs each of us to figurately take the baton and cast our ballots.
It's your right as an American and your obligation as a U.S. citizen.