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110218-VOTE

California graphic designer @lenawolffstudio printed lots of these Vote posters, with help from a Kickstarter campaign, and sent them around the country. If you want a few for 2020, contact her or email suzannesmom@lunaandstella.com.

Why is it that some Americans don’t take advantage of the greatest right and duty of living in a democracy — the vote?

Some people say one vote doesn’t count, but that makes no sense. Millions of votes are made only from many, many one-votes. And many races are extremely close.

Others don’t see anything on the ballot — candidate or ballot question — that they care about. But just showing up is important. It increases overall turnout, which shows we care, and you can always write in a name. I’ve done that in races where only one candidate was on the ballot.

Some people fear election results will get hacked, but at least one expert, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, says so much work has been done since 2016 that the polls are now the most secure they have ever been. Read his op-ed.

Then there is the question of getting registered (having automatic registration for those getting a driver’s license would really help) and then getting to the polls. Volunteers from your party will give anyone a ride who needs one, you know. And many states let you choose your day by having absentee voting (generally by mail) and early voting (staff waiting for you at your town hall). In addition, you could support those who are trying to make Election Day a national holiday so fewer people are tied up at work.

The biggest concern to my mind is vote suppression. There have always been groups trying to keep some people from voting. This year we are seeing restrictive laws in North Dakota preventing tribes from voting by requiring all individuals to have street addresses, which Indian reservations don’t usually have. And in Georgia, where the man in charge of voting wants everyone to vote for him to be governor, we see massive vote suppression for inconsistent punctuation and challenges to recent naturalization. These kinds of tricks are similar to those that were still keeping African Americans from voting in the South in the 1960s.

People died for your right to vote.

Since voter suppression will probably always be attempted by unscrupulous people, the best thing someone who believes in democracy can do is to keep donating to organizations that take such people to court, like the American Civil Liberties Union. There will always be people who don’t want every eligible citizen to vote — the bedrock of democracy — but you can fight back. Even small efforts count. In Kansas, for example, the Dodge City polling place was moved a great distance from where voters lived, but many ordinary folk stepped up, and now there are enough volunteers to drive everyone to the distant polling place.

One and one and 50 make a million.

New York City subway mosaic: She voted.

102318-I-voted-subway-mosaic

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The Poem-a-Day for today, from poets.org.
Election Day, November, 1884

If I should need to name, O Western World, your

powerfulest scene and show,
‘Twould not be you, Niagara–nor you, ye limitless

prairies–nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite–nor Yellowstone, with all its

spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies,

appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones–nor Huron’s belt of mighty

lakes–nor Mississippi’s stream:
–This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now,

I’d name–the still small voice vibrating–America’s

choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen–the act itself the

main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d–sea-board

and inland–Texas to Maine–the Prairie States–

Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West–the

paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling–(a swordless

conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern

Napoleon’s:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity–welcoming the darker

odds, the dross:
–Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to

purify–while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

 

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Vote

I went to vote before work. I’d heard on the radio it would be a low turnout because it was a primary and on a Thursday, which is unusual. But one hotly contested election brought out the troops.

As I left the polls, I was thinking how some folks complain their vote won’t matter or nothing will change. But I think voting is important even if it isn’t perfect.

At this very moment, people around the world are literally dying for the right to vote. And if they do get the franchise, they line up for hours time and time again even if they know it’s not perfect — too many candidates, fraud attempts, threats of violence, the wrong person winning.

A few years ago I was reading stats about Dubai, just a list of facts like population, natural resources, weather, religion. I came to the column “franchise,” and it said “none.”

None? I never really thought about it although I knew the country was a monarchy.

Franchise: none. Wow.

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