Be independent in voting booth

So, we are only a couple of weeks away from the Nov. 2 election at which a lot of important decisions will be made.

But before then, you have at least one important decision:

Will you vote?

Only you can answer that, but at least let us suggest what we consider the best answer:

Yes.

As a nation, our turnout for elections is not all that sparkling, and that is especially true in what have come to be known as “off-year” elections, an unfortunate phrase that seems to relegate this upcoming vote to second-class election status.

And it shouldn’t.

It is only an “off-year” election because there is no presidential decision to be made, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Surely you would agree that the race between Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and former Sen. Scott Brown (that was in Masschusetts, in case you’ve forgotten) is important.

Given the really nasty ads that supporters of each candidate are running, you’d think it was a matter of deciding whether the world should end in flood or fire.

But recently, we noticed something interesting about this race, thanks to WMUR television:

The people running a pro-Brown ad are beating up Shaheen for supporting President Obama 99 percent of the time. That does seem like an awful lot, but Shaheen, like Obama, is a Democrat and it is at least plausible that she really does agree with him at that level. We can only posit that some Republicans voted with President George W. Bush 99 percent of the time, and that, too, would not seem odious given that Republican senators often strongly agree with Republican presidents.

Actually, though, it isn’t all that much when you consider that 18 other senators voted with the president 100 percent of the time. As in voting with him always, no questions asked.

But here is what WMUR reported a few weeks ago that gave us pause:

The television station reported that when he was in the Senate, Brown voted with Obama 70 and 78 percent of the time during his two years.

That, it seems to us, is a pretty decent percentage for a member of the opposition party.

Now, what does any of this mean?

Well, first, it means that Shaheen doesn’t always agree with the president and when she doesn’t, she votes the other way.

Second, it means that Brown often agreed with the president and cast his votes accordingly.

But those are just facts. What does it MEAN?

No idea, although it could certainly indicate that each is independent-minded to a greater or lesser scale. Is that important? To some of us it certainly is. Of course there are others who march in lockstep to the party line, regardless of party, and they would find such independence anathema. A pity, we think.

You have to decide how you feel and whether you believe any of this is important.

But perhaps it will give you some idea about why you need to answer “yes” when asked if you’re going to vote. After all, there is a difference between 99 and 78 percent. Only you can decide how you feel about that difference.

And please, don’t let either a political entity or nasty television commercials determine how you vote.

In other words, be independent in that voting booth.