Martin Luther King's daughter urging voters to go to the polls in defining election

Published: Nov. 8, 2016 at 4:47 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2017 at 9:24 PM EST
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(WTVM) - With just one day until elections, Americans are poised to turn an important page in history.

From the presidency to state and local offices and even constitutional amendments in Georgia and Alabama, there is a lot on the line.

We recently sat down with Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to talk about the elections and issues facing the country, including how close we are to fulfilling her father's dream 50 years later.

Bernice King says whoever is elected will have a profound impact on the country's future, adding that it is important that everyone gets out and votes.
She calls this a defining time in our country's history.

"This election could turn the clock back for real or it could push us ahead," King says.

With so much at stake, she says she's been disappointed by the months of campaigning leading up to such a critical vote.

"I think the standards have been lowered in this particular election cycle," King said. "We're drawn to drama, negativity and we need to think about why, why are we so susceptible like that, why do we believe that it has to has a low life kind of tone to it to be exciting, meaningful and engaging."

King says this election will play a critical role to the country's future as the president could appoint as many as three Supreme Court justices.

"And when you look at the history of America, particularly when you come on the sides of human and civil rights, typically the Supreme Court has been very critical in determining the direction," King said. "So when you talk about electing a president this time we're talking about defining the direction for the next 50 or 75 years of America."

Even though the presidential race has gotten much of the media attention, King says it's important for voters to remember the other elections that could have an even bigger impact on their lives.

"It's not just about the president, it's about the congress people, and they're the ones who pass the laws. It's about your local and state level that we're impacted by on a daily basis," said King.

That's why she says it's more important than ever to get out and vote. Turnout is expected to be high for these elections, something King hopes will be the case.  She says not voting would be a slap in the face of civil rights leaders like her father who marched, fought and even died for the right to vote.

"I just want to make sure people do not take that for granted, because you know I don't think they would have given their lives if they were standing there thinking 50 years later people were going to just treat it like it was nothing, it would make their sacrifice in vain and it would almost be an insult," King said.

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