SPEAK UP: VOTE
A Washington Post story reveals that in 2012, the most recent time Americans voted for president, about 67 percent of the country’s registered voters cast a ballot. That’s compared to 68 percent in Canada and 80 percent in France, according to data compiled by the International Institute for Democracy and Election Assistance.
I’m well aware of the fact that our post-modern version of democracy is imperfect, loud and even ridiculous at times. But I vote regardless, knowing it’s a right and a privilege. I keep in mind that African Americans couldn’t vote before the 15th Amendment was ratified. Before the 19th Amendment was approved, women couldn’t vote. Making our voices heard has always been something we’ve fought for. Why be silent now?
After researching election practices, I’ve developed “pragmatic compassion” for many who don’t vote. Here are the reasons:
- According to the Washington Post story: “More than 20 states have voter-identification laws — rules requiring registered voters to supply specific forms of identification at polling sites before they can cast a ballot. To obtain such identification, voters may be required to visit state-run agencies during times when they are scheduled to work – and sometimes fees are involved in order to obtain identification. Political scientists estimate this could affect millions of voters in 2016, the majority of whom are expected to be voters of color.”
- The article also explains that voting resources are typically based on past voting practices, with wealthier locations having the edge. This means longer lines are likely in poorer neighborhoods, and this can be problematic for those who work for minimum wage. They may even fear losing their jobs.
It’s clear we still have to fight to make our voices heard at the polls. Knowing what we’re up against, this is no time to be silent.