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Will Kentucky voters be shut out?

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By The Staff

As I drove down Bardstown Road, a large yard sign caught my eye the other day - "Yes We Can" it touted in big red and blue letters. Beside it another sign - Barack Obama '08.

It's nice to see folks finding a presidential candidate that they want to support and feeling good enough about it to shout it from their front yard (via signage) to the world.

The bad thing is that by the time this poor person gets to vote in Kentucky's late May Primary, the decision for the Democratic and Republican party's contenders for the White House will likely already be decided.

Kentucky's government leaders didn't want to spend the extra dollars to move our presidential primary up to a separate date so that we could be active participants in the choice for our nation's leader. In some regards, I don't really blame them with a price tag in the millions for that privilege.

On the other hand, why shouldn't Kentuckians' votes count just as much as those in the majority of other states?

In one of the most hotly contested and by far most interesting presidential elections in many, many years, our votes will probably not even matter.

For the first time, we will get to choose between an African-American and a woman as the candidate for one of our main parties. I felt certain that I would see both in my lifetime but really wasn't expecting it so soon. And even more fortunate for the American public is the fact that we have two top-notch choices - something that also hasn't happened in recent history.

But in Kentucky, our day at the polls won't weigh much for the Democrats in the decision between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In fact, it's possible that the latter may have even dropped out before we ever get to the polls. The same is almost certainly true with Congressman John McCain basically having already sewn up his party's nomination.

Many states wanted to be top contenders in presidential politics this year and moved their primaries and caucuses back to even earlier dates than in the past. No doubt some of those states definitely get an economic boost from the droves of followers who come out to see candidates as well as the entourages that follow every footstep along the way of the potential president.

It's doubtful that Kentucky would reap millions in economic rewards if our primary were earlier. But it's definite that we would see some extra dollars (and I'll be the first to admit that many of those would line the pockets of the media). Even more important would be the fact that the voters of this state would get to cast a ballot that mattered.

I'm not a political scientist and wouldn't claim to be. However, it seems there's something wrong when a country that spews forth about its freedoms to the rest of the world - one of those being the right to vote - has such a messed up system of choosing our two main party contenders for the highest position in the land.

One would have to wonder if it wouldn't be possible for us all to head to our primaries and caucuses on the same day across the nation just like we do in the General Election. At least couldn't we get it down to two or three days for the entire country instead of spread out across months, negating the significance of the votes of many.

Maybe there's some reason this isn't feasible, but in a country where we can shoot down a satellite from outer space using a Naval ship in the ocean and spend millions doing it, you would think we could all vote on the same day.

We all can dream a little. Barack Obama has certainly been living one this political season.

My dream would be for all Americans' votes to count in the primaries and caucuses across the country.

Maybe someday my dream can, too, become a reality.