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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Get Out the Vote!

Five Reasons to Vote/Image Link
Because I hate the injustice I've been witnessing close at hand and in our national government, I'm reading a lot about politics today. An article shared by Robert Reich today about purging voters from registration lists in Ohio reminded me of a conversation I had with a local Republican State legislator in the past. Excited about an idea I had, I approached the political leader at a local race. I shared my idea which was to institute a mandatory government class at every high school, and upon completion of the course students would register and have the right to vote. I was excited about the idea because I felt like it would be a positive inroad for every future voter and every citizen. I was surprised by the politician's response which was something like, I'm not in favor of that idea as that means there would be more voters. I imagine what she was really saying is that there would be more common folks, average people voting, and that would mean less support for political leaders like her.

In hindsight, I should have pushed a little more, but I was so taken aback, I didn't know what to say. It never occurred to me at the time that someone wouldn't want to open up voting in ways that gave everyone a right to vote. But, in reading the article Reich shared as well as other recent news stories, there's definitely a greater effort afoot to limit voting rights in our country. That's a BIG problem.

So in the days ahead, I'll think about ways to forward this new idea in my own state, Massachusetts--a state that's typically dedicated to democratic action. Perhaps we can be the first state in the union to foster a mandatory government class that ends with students' right and registration to vote even if they are younger than 18. Imagine how that would empower people of Massachusetts to listen more to the issues and get involved. I also imagine that if every student started to vote, then that could inspire their other family members to get out the vote.

How can we ensure that we have more voter participation throughout the country so that we don't have only about 50% of voters weighing in on national elections as important as the Presidency? One way is to begin high school mandatory government classes and voter registration--that would improve participation which would result in a government that better reflects the needs and interests of the populace.