Archive for the ‘Vote’ Category

Service of Registering to Vote

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Photo: hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com

I can’t remember noticing as many efforts to register people to vote–from so many quarters–as I now do.

September 25 was “National Voter Registration Day,” an initiative that’s six years old but it’s the first time I’ve heard of it. According to Facebook, when I last looked, 2,247,846 reported that they’d helped friends to register on TurboVote.

Photo: southlakesentinel.com

In addition to Facebook, even before the national day, links and reminders have also popped up on Twitter, Instagram and Google for starters. A few weeks ago I went to a screening, sponsored by AARP, of the documentary “Love, Gilda,” about Gilda Radner. At the registration desk in the movie house lobby we were asked to sign a promise-to-register-to-vote sheet. I saw a poster on the exit door of a grocery store upstate last weekend. The Alumnae for Action committee of a NYC private school—Brearley– sponsored a voter registration postcard writing event, coordinated by the League of Women Voters.

Photo: sanavalley.com

Our citizens have been lackadaisical voters. According to fairvote.org, 40 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots for midterm elections and in recent years, 60 percent for national elections. Drew Desilver, Pew Research Center, wrote “U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout.” He reported that we’re 26th of 32 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Belgium**ranks first at 87 percent followed by Sweden and Denmark, 82.6 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Switzerland, the last, comes in at 39 percent. **Desilver reported that Belgium is one of 24 nations with “some form of compulsory voting.”

Has the effort to register people to vote been as vigorous in other years? Do you think that these recent registrants will remember—or bother–to vote on November 6? Do you vote even if you aren’t enamored with the choices? In addition to legitimate reasons such as a last minute illness, unexpected travel or horrendous weather conditions where a write-in ballot is no longer an option, why do you think people don’t vote?

Photo: abodo.com

Service of Executing Your Franchise

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

vote here today

The gymnasium in which I voted this week was filled with everything but voters. On the perimeter of the giant space were many long tables representing election districts—each had three poll workers–and toward the center were desks with pens to fill out ballots and a few scanners against one wall. I mentioned the dearth of voters to the poll worker at the scanner stations. She told me I’d just missed a slew of voters and that at one scanner alone, she bet that there were at least 60 ballots.

While that might be a hefty number at 9 a.m. in a small town, I voted in midtown Manhattan. I was used to meeting my neighbors in lines, short and long. There were none.

empty voting boothThings weren’t much different in Ohio, according to Fox 8 News in Cleveland. The station reported unofficial estimates of 40 percent of registered voters who cast votes this election in the Buckeye State.

On Google I saw a Star-Ledger headline: “NJ’s voter turnout in 2014 midterm elections may be record low, early figures show.” The BurlingtonFreePress.com: “Vermont hits record low voter turnout.”

Daniel Nussbaum on Brietbart.com predicted for California the lowest voter turnout “in the modern era.”

whinerI’m tired of hearing “there’s nobody I like” or “it doesn’t matter whether or not I vote.” If all these powerless people got together imagine the impact they might have!

Speaking of inertia, Staten Island voters picked as their US Representative a fellow who is under indictment for tax fraud. It will be his third term. If you didn’t like his opponent or would rather eat glass than vote for a member of another political party, perhaps your Uncle Fred would be a better choice? To write in a name in New York you color in “other” in the appropriate section and write in the name of your candidate. No doubt it’s just as easy in other states.

I wonder how many of the people who complain about their town, city, state or country vote. I get the feeling that those who bother are either extremists, naturalized citizens who know what it’s like to live in a place where they can’t vote and those whose family tradition recognizes the importance.

So much money is spent on the process already that clearly throwing more of it to turnaround apathy won’t jumpstart voters.

Was my polling place a fluke? What will it take to energize and engage citizens here? In whose interest is it when people don’t vote?

excited people

Service of Independents

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

flag

I see irony in the fact that independents and undecided voters may determine who wins the presidential election because we have become a country focused so much on teams.

College and grad school work is largely accomplished in teams; people refer to their associates at work as teammates and then of course millions root for their favorites, which is nothing new.

In addition, many belong to clubs, organizations, churches and political parties.

sheep1One of the things my father repeated most often when, as a child, I’d whine that “all the girls were doing” whatever it was that he forbade was “that’s precisely why you won’t be doing it.” He was active in a range of sports from soccer to tennis and belonged to a range of teams, yet at the same time, he was obsessed about not being a sheep i.e. a follower. His outlook, a strict one, was annoying-to-painful but as a result, while a happy team player when appropriate, I’m comfortable speaking up and acting independently.

My bet is that wavering, crucial independents are driving President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s handlers crazy because they are trying to hug mercury. What advice do you have for these handlers? What do you suggest they do to get independents to vote for their candidate or to vote at all? Do the independents feel comfortable in their skin and do they recognize their power?

 catsgalore

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