It’s as simple as that. If you don’t like the direction in which the country (state, county, town, city, village) is going, go to the polls Nov. 6 and vote for the candidates who best reflect your idea on how things should be done. It’s the most basic tool all Americans age 18 and older have and the one most frequently ignored.

The most common excuse given for not exercising the most basic right a democracy offers is, “What’s the use? Politicians are all the same.” If you think that, you haven’t been paying attention the past couple of years. But now’s the time to pay attention if you’d like to have a say in how things go in the future.

If you are not registered to vote in New York state, you have until Friday to do something about it. Online registration is closed. Oct. 12 is the deadline to register in person at your local board of elections. If you can’t get there in person, you can fill out the registration form on this page and mail it to the local board, but it must be postmarked no later than Friday, Oct. 12.

One other voting registration item that may be of interest to some: New Yorkers who wish to change their party enrollment for 2019, must do so by, yes, this Friday. A year ahead. Just one of the many ways the state makes it unnecessarily difficult for residents to vote. If you don’t like it, or the lack of early voting or maybe would prefer open primaries, the first thing to do is register so you can at least have a say.

The second thing, of course, is exercising that voice. Tens of millions of eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 presidential election, far more than did vote. Those who do not like the results might say, "What’s the difference? My candidate got more votes and still lost.” True. But that candidate did not get enough votes in enough states under the Electoral College system of choosing a president. If you think that’s unfair, vote for candidates who want to change it.

Midterm elections are typically greeted by even more voter apathy, but this may be one of the most important in recent history. A president chosen by a minority of voters in an election still under investigation has deeply divided the nation. A Congress charged with being a check on presidential misuse of power has mostly abdicated its responsibility. In New York, a governor who disbanded his own commission on corruption, has seen key aides convicted of corruption.

Elections matter. Votes count.