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Editor's Notebook: Vote! Your rights are on the line!

My official election ballot arrived in the mail on Tuesday, and I was as excited as always to exercise my right to vote.

I’ve voted in every single presidential election since I became eligible to vote, and my streak will continue this year when I mail back my ballot today.

Regardless of who you want to win office, it is crucial to get involved in the voting process to keep the democratic process alive and well. The people you help elect to office will be making crucial decisions that will affect your life, sooner or later, whether on LGBT rights today or Social Security and Medicare for your senior years.

In many places, voter suppression efforts are a real and ugly fact of life, and it is not a coincidence that these un-American actions are coming in states where Republicans control the state legislatures. The suppression efforts mostly affect the poor, the minorities and the elderly -- who typically vote Democratic.

But here in the very blue state of California, getting eligible to vote has never been easier: Online voter registration! Deadline is Oct. 22 to register online in time to vote on Election Day, which is Nov. 6.

What's at stake this election?

The 2012 presidential election feels like a heavyweight wrestling match for the heart and the soul of the nation. The choice for president has never seemed so clear.

President Barack Obama has proven to be the most gay-friendly POTUS in the history of the republic, and he got his wish to repeal the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. The Obama Administration has stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which discriminates against LGBT couples, and the President and the Democratic Party have come out in favor of marriage equality and expanded LGBT rights.

Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee for President, stands for everything that is anti-gay. He has vowed to reinstate DADT and defend DOMA, just like the GOP-controlled U.S. House is doing at great taxpayer expense in case after case that loses in federal court. A Romney Administration would turn back the clock on the rights of LGBT, women and other minorities. And his veep choice, Paul Ryan, is just as staunch in his opposition to LGBT rights.

The Democrats crafted a simple but effective message to America with the slogan “Forward.” This is the direction that the country should continue – moving forward, moving progressively toward a more perfect union, in America where our precious Declaration of Independence affirms that:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

It is high time to rectify the status of second-class citizens for LGBT Americans, and that’s why it is so important to vote for candidates who support this viewpoint.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.