Rock the Vote
November 4th is one of the most important days in our house. As strong proponents in the importance of the democratic process, my husband and I take our children to vote in every election. They understand the importance of state, local, and national elections. They wear their “I Voted!” stickers to school with pride after they have researched candidates, completed sample ballots, and have as much of a grasp on the issues that six and seven-year-old children can have. Voting, they know, is a privilege, and something they look forward to doing on their own when they are of age. I can only hope that the values we’re instilling in them now are ones that they hold for their adult life and that they will really “walk the walk” when it matters.
In the last presidential election (2012), Florida reported a voter turnout of 64%; this ranked 16th in the nation. This means that 36% of the population of eligible voters did not to cast a ballot, either in person or via absentee ballot…in a presidential election!
This year is not a presidential election and the data indicates that there is even lower voter turnout in non-presidential election years. 2010 showed a mere 42% of eligible voters in the state of Florida (electionproject.org). So why do those grim statistics matter to us?
Here are just a few reasons why:
School districts are the largest employers in any community across the nation. We have the potential to be the largest voting group in the state if we show up at the polls.
Our elected officials, especially at the state level, are the ones who influence education policy. We can either use our collective voices to put people in office who will work for the best interests of our schools, or we can complain about policy decisions that hurt teachers and kids. I recommend being proactive.
America’s voting rights did not come easily. After the Civil War, the Fifteenth Amendment granted freed African American men the right to vote. However, poll taxes and literacy tests prevented equal representation. The Nineteenth Amendment wasn’t ratified granting women’s suffrage until 1920, less than a century ago. The Supreme Court is split even today on the Voting Rights Act of 2013. The right for all Americans to vote has been a historical and contentious battle that was fought by many brave men and women. Exercise your right and civic duty. Honor their sacrifice. Make an informed choice. Vote.
Voter registration ends in Florida on October 6, 2014.
You can register to vote at http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voter-registration/voter-reg.shtml