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Up for the count

If you’re not in it, you can’t win it, which should be the mantra for Queens voters in this unruly presidential election. Power Ball has come to the voting booth with the odds shifting almost daily as new polls are released and October Surprises rock the race.

Donald Trump’s warning that the election might be rigged adds another element of uncertainly, however unfounded his claims. But raising the specter of a conspiracy to deny voters their rights sends a disturbing message to Queens, where half the population is foreign-born.

Some of these immigrants have fled countries where totalitarian governments have suppressed fair elections and kept their citizens locked in an oppressive society. They have come here to escape the power of the state.

The danger is that suggestions of voter fraud may discourage some immigrant voters from casting their ballots. Just the opposite should be the case.

This is the most unconventional, unprecedented presidential contest in recent memory and every eligible voter in Queens should vote. Trump, Queens’ native son, and Hillary Clinton represent opposing views on many issues and this is the chance to take a stand on immigration, free trade and climate change. Whoever ends up in the White House will listen.

America prides itself on being the greatest democracy in the world, yet voter turnout in presidential elections had been dropping since 1972 until President Obama won his first term with 61.6 percent of eligible voters casting ballots in 2008. In the 2012 presidential race turnout slipped to 58.2 percent, but it still remained above the 40-year level.

In the three primaries in Queens this year turnout was very low, possibly reflecting voter fatigue.

But with the presidential election days away talk about voter fraud is an unsettling reminder in the borough’s minority communities of voter intimidation in other parts of the nation. Obstacles to voter registration, ID requirements at the polls and the Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle part of the Voting Rights Act have imperiled the minority vote in some states.

New York City is making every effort to give its citizens the chance to vote. Poll workers speak an astounding number of languages, the mainstream parties will provide transportation to the polls for those who need it and 18-year-olds will be marking ballots in their first election

The best way to fight fraudulent accusations of a rigged election and voter fraud is to go to the polls. You owe it to yourself and to the country. It’s about time more of us showed up to be counted.

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