Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Yes, I vote

Today's prompt asks this month's Nablopomo participants "Do you always exercise your right to vote? Why or why not?"  The answer is yes.  I haven't missed an election since either the 1991 municipal elections or the 1992 primary election.  I skipped the 1990 elections because I had just moved to Michigan from California and I didn't feel like I knew the issues and candidates well enough and I didn't want to acknowledge that I was here for the long term.  Before then, I had voted in every election in California for a decade, beginning with the 1978 primary election and ending with the 1988 general election.  Yes, I believe in voting.

As for why I believe in voting, I hold that, while my vote may not always matter--I've seen enough landslides to know better--it matters that I vote.  I went to the polling place and expressed my opinion, then it was counted, even if the candidate or ballot measure I voted for lost by 15-20%, which has happened.  That means that I am participating in the decision-making and selection of representatives and executives at all levels of government.  That's important to me and I wish more people thought and felt that way.  That's why I campaign for candidates and issue endorsements.  I've even had my name on the ballot and voted for myself.  It's also one of the reasons I report on elections for and have volunteered and am a director for the Coffee Party.

Finally, all the struggle to expand voting rights matters.  Follow over the jump for both the history and possible future of that effort.

First, the history from TED-ED: The fight for the right to vote in the United States - Nicki Beaman Griffin.

In the United States today, if you are over eighteen, a citizen, and the resident of a state, you can vote (with some exceptions). So, how have voting rights changed since the first election in 1789? Nicki Beaman Griffin outlines the history of the long fight for a more inclusive electorate.
As the video notes, participation is expanded, but not complete.  Not only do more of those who are registered need to vote, but more of those eligible need to vote and more people need to be made eligible.  To that end, here is a video from a week ago asking Do We Need A "Right to Vote" Constitutional Amendment?

Democrats have came out in support of a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. The move points to an intensifying Democratic response to the wave of conservative efforts to restrict voting.
I agree with the presenter.  Making Election Day a national holiday would do more to increase turnout than almost any other measure.

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