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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Two heroes emerged at the polls this year, and neither was named Barack or Mitt.

Their names are Galicia and Ken — ordinary Americans with extraordinary depths of civic spirit. While nearly 40 percent of eligible voters didn’t bother to cast their ballots this year, these two demonstrated that our democratic right to vote is not something to take lightly — especially at a time when Republican officials in several states are going to extremes to deny millions of citizens that right.

Galicia Malone, 21 years old, was making an urgent trip to the hospital Tuesday morning because she was about to give birth to her first child. Her water had broken, and her contractions were five minutes apart, so there was no time to waste.

Galicia points out that the opportunity to vote ought not be wasted — so, contractions be damned, she stopped at her polling place in a Chicago suburb and patiently went down the entire ballot, determined to be counted in her first presidential election.

Ignoring her pains, Galicia says: “I was just trying to read and breathe. This is my first baby, a girl, and I wanted to make a good impression. I want to have a story to tell her.” Having proudly delivered her vote, she then drove herself to the hospital and delivered her baby. Now that’s a story!

Ken Knight of Buda, Texas, is another diehard voter. Literally. Sadly, Ken died from cancer on Tuesday morning, Election Day. But, on the previous Friday, the last day of early voting, his wife and several friends lifted him, his wheelchair and two tanks of oxygen into a van and drove him to city hall.

He was “hell-bent on voting,” Amy Knight says of her husband. “It was a driving force for him.” Her only regret was that she forgot to get an “I voted” sticker for Ken’s ride home.

So spare me any whines about voting being a pain or too much of a bother for you.

Not bothering to vote is deplorable — but preventing others from voting is both disgraceful and disgusting.