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October 22, 2012

Rural Votes Matter

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Sure, it’s your patriotic duty to vote, but if you care about your own neck of the woods, it’s also in your best interests. American Farm Bureau’s Director of Policy Implementation Programs L.J. Johnson talks about the importance of the rural vote in this story from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
Miller:Maybe you’re counting down the days until the election because you’re tired of all the political ads or perhaps because you’re tired of debating your friends on Facebook. But American Farm Bureau’s Director of Policy Implementation Programs L.J. Johnson says voting is not only a civic responsibility, it’s your chance to protect what is important to you, through the people you elect.
Johnson:They’ve got to tell their representatives that they need them to be their voice and if they’re not at the polls and they’re not talking to their candidates, how do they know?
Miller:And Johnson says there are some issues that are particular to rural residents that lawmakers need to hear about.
Johnson:I think that the people in rural areas are more attuned to the needs of healthcare and schools, because they are so spread out. Definitely roads are really important, infrastructure that gets them to and from is really critical. I think a lot of people don’t realize that our farmers and ranchers, people in rural areas don’t have good access to internet and that’s something that’s really important. You can’t hardly do school lessons anymore if you don’t have access to the internet. And so it’s really important for them to help Congress understand how having access to good healthcare and access to schools and everything is important.
Miller:And for a rural resident, making sure your voice is heard may take some extra effort. 
Johnson:In some of the rural areas it can be as high as 60 miles to get to a polling place. When you’ve got 45 to 60 miles to drive in, it can seem kind of daunting to. It is getting easier for people to do it. They are opening polls earlier. They’re doing early voting. There are absentee ballots. It is so important to remember that if you’ve got access to early voting, get in there and do it soon, because in some states you just don’t know if you’re going to get a giant snowstorm November 6. So get that vote in because you’ve got to be heard. It’s your patriotic duty and you might be that deciding vote.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:We have two extra actualities with AFBF Director of Policy Implementation Programs L.J. Johnson. In the first extra actuality she explains why the rural vote matters to candidates. The cut runs 16 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Johnson:There is just no doubt that the rural vote is really important. Both presidential candidates see that in order to get to the White House, it leads down rural roads. I’m sure city people look at it and go, “why do they pay so much attention to rural?” Well, it’s because those rural voters provide them that edge.
Miller:In the second extra actuality Johnson says people should take this civic duty more seriously. The cut runs 15 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Johnson:It’s sad that so many people around the world would like to have the vote like we do and we have so many citizens who choose not to. But I can tell you that it appears as if rural voters understand the need because they tend to get out to vote, often times much more often than city people do.
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern time. Thank you for listening.

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