The 2012 presidential elections are now in the history books. However, the memory of the voting chaos in Florida and other states still lingers.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend The Palm Beach Post published a story confirming what voters in Florida already knew — that great efforts were made to suppress the vote of hard-working citizens.

A former chair of the GOP Party, a former governor and others all spoke about the issue to the Palm Beach Post.

Throughout this election cycle, we’ve said “fire fighters support those who support us.”  For fire fighters and other public employees, having the ability to vote early is critical to their right to participate in the democratic process of casting a ballot.  Restricting or suppressing that right is another assault on our members to have their voice heard.

With gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia and mayoral races in Detroit, Boston and Houston in 2013, next year’s election cycle won’t draw as much fanfare. But it is important that fire fighters not forget those who stand shoulder to shoulder (with us) making public safety a priority in their communities.

We can’t afford to be asleep at the wheel – too much is at stake. You have seen the consequences when radical lawmakers have tried to end your collective bargaining rights, change your pensions and minimize your wages.  In today’s political environment, many issues that use to be decided in the legislative arena are now pushed to the ballot to allow the citizens to decide.  To some politicians, restricting the right to vote is another way to silence our voices on these issues that are put forth to the voters.

Those who you elect for public office on the local, county and state level are equally as important as those who you elect on the national level.

We can’t forget those who try to make it harder for us to make a living and who try to silence our voices.

Remember, all elections have consequences and fire fighters must always make it a priority to stay involved and participate even during an off election year.