” The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it.“― John Lewis
Late Civil Rights Activist
and U.S. Representative
I’m Voting. It’s My Super Power!
When they were little, my three kids thought that I had super powers. Most little kids do. They think their parent knows everything and can do anything. This is not surprising, because their world is small and you provide almost all the answers and tend to almost all their needs. I sometimes pine for those days. For example, Charlotte once asked me to explain how a rocket works (she’s now an engineer). She asked with such honesty and sincerity, I knew that she just assumed that I just knew (I did not). Now my little girl can not only explain this science to me, but she can actually build one. Go figure. Charlotte now knows, as do Joe and Libby, that I do not, in fact, possess super powers – at least not the all-knowing kind. BUT, and it’s a big one, I do possess one super power, the one that every U.S. Citizen over 18 can also possess… and that’s being a registered voter… and voting. It’s our right and our duty as Americans. And today, November 3rd, 2020, we get to show off that super power…
Why It Matters…
Voting is so important today, because our numbers kind of stink in comparison to the rest of the world. Did you know, for example, that only 56% of U.S. registered voters voted in the 2016 presidential election? That turnout puts the United States in the bottom 25% of all developed nations when it comes to voter turnout! That is truly mind-boggling! Early voting has been promising, but today’s the day if you haven’t voted yet and want to make it count!
Did you know: There are 239.2 million U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote – BUT… only 152.6 million (less than 65%) are registered. C’mon people! We can do way better than that! We are the United States of America, after all! The best damn country on the planet! If you compare our turnout to places like Turkey and Belgium where 85.2% and 87.2% of voters cast ballots it’s even more amazing! So let’s get on this… show them what we are made of… I know we can rock this!
They Walked For Miles and Stood In Line For Hours…
In 1994 South Africa held its first free elections where all citizens were allowed to vote. In the election, which lasted over three days, 19.7 million citizens cast ballots (87%). It was lucky that there were three days to vote, because many South Africans walked more than 20 miles to cast their ballot and many waited in line for more than 24 hours to do so.
In The DR Congo, the 2018 elections were deemed by both The Catholic Church and Human Rights Watch to be rife with human rights violations, voter suppression and violence. Armed militia at polling places intimated voters into casting their ballots for the military-backed candidate or into not voting at all. People risked their lives to vote in the DR Congo.
In The US we might have to wait a few hours in line today and we may not know the winner for a little while, but we face nothing like this. So what are you waiting for?
What To Do If You Don’t Know Where To Vote Today?
So what do you do if you want to vote, but you don’t know where?
In Rhode Island you can go to the Secretary of State’s website, enter your name and zip and find out where your polling place is through this link: Find Out Where To Vote: Rhode Island
In Other U.S. States you can click on this U.S. government site to find your state’s Secretary of State’s website and thereby your polling place: Find Out Where To Vote: U.S.
A Final Thought On Voting
My dearly departed Dad used to say that if you didn’t vote that you gave up your right to complain (I am not using his exact word here, but suffice it to say that it rhymes with itch). I think it’s good advice. I am proud to say that no matter where I have been since I turned 18 I have managed to cast my ballot. My fondest hope for you, my dear readers, is that you will heed my Dad’s advice today and get out there…
So What Else Is Good About Voting Today?
There’s no doubt about it, this one is historic. People will be talking about this election for generations. You get to say that you were there and you did your duty for all of us! Thank you.
And Now For A Little Music Before We Go…
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.“-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.