“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States
With a major national election looming, it’s time to think about our right to vote.
If you read the Constitution of the United States, you may be surprised to find that it does not guarantee the right to vote to its citizens. It was understood, in the beginning, that decisions for our country and its government should be restricted to certain individuals who “know what’s best”.
It wasn’t until 1868, with the 14th Amendment, that the right to vote was extended to all person born within the United States. The 15th Amendment, in 1870, took this one step further, requiring that no citizen be denied the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude. And, it wasn’t until 1920, with the 19th Amendment, that women were finally considered citizens with regards to voting rights.
Why, then, do so many in this country fail to exercise this right that was so hard won?
“My vote doesn’t count. It’s the Electoral College that chooses.” However, the popular vote determines how the Electoral College votes.
“I’m too busy.” We’re all busy. Life can be challenging. We find the time for those things that are important to us. People have fought and died to protect this right for us. This is important.
“Registering is just too confusing.” Not so! For the most part, simply the presentation of identification is sufficient to complete the registration process. Have you moved recently? If so, you’ll need to update your Registration to preserve your right to vote.
“Why bother? They’re all liars.” Then say so, with your vote. Those who do not speak up with their vote have no right to speak up to complain about the results.
“The lines are too long!” In reality, lines are seldom very long. The peak line lengths are generally right when the polls open, and when they are about to close. If you’re still worried you’ll have to wait for too long a time, take advantage of early voting. Check this calendar to find early voting information for your area.
Exercise your rights. Make sure your registration is filed and up-to-date so that you can be heard.