By: Ann Davis-Rowe
As you may have heard, the midterm elections are less than two weeks away. And by “may have heard,” I mean you’re probably 100% over all the attack ads and mass mailings.
There are a number of reasons for pre-election burnout, whether you’ve been dead-set on your choices from the get-go or you just couldn’t care less. If you couldn’t care less, you’re not alone. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that less than 42% of registered voters – and only about 20% of millennials – showed up for the last midterm elections. This is despite ever-growing anger on all sides about such topics as LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, abortion, and taxes.
It’s easy to feel like your vote doesn’t matter. Trust me, I get it; thanks to the gerrymandering in my state, zero of my representatives in D.C. actually represent me and my morals. And I will admit that in my youth, I didn’t vote because what was the point? But it’s not just about national representation. It’s about state and local races and referendums, too. If you don’t vote, whether it’s because you think that as a middle-class, American-born, straight, cisgender, decently-educated white person, none of this affects you, or because “both sides are bad”, you’re not just “staying out of the us vs. them fighting”, you’re giving up your voice.
I’m not just going trot out the old “if you don’t vote you can’t complain.” I will say, emphatically and with great concern, that even if you are completely apathetic to all these hot button issues: voting isn’t just a civic right, it’s your duty. Our country is based on the ideals that all persons are created equal and everyone should have a say in how things are run. If you don’t participate, you’re turning your back on all those who fought for your right to vote. Not just via Facebook memes, but with their blood and their lives – from the Revolutionists who rallied against taxation without representation, to the Suffragettes who got us the 19th Amendment, to the Civil Rights leaders who faced unspeakable cruelty and still marched on. Still not impassioned? I'd suggest you learn about Rep. John Lewis who was arrested over 40 times, beaten, his skull fractured, and marched on so that everyone would have a voice. He is still alive today and serving Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District.
As an added bonus, when you vote you get a sticker that you can post to Instagram so everyone knows what a functional member of society you are.
Let’s just say my ranting has inspired you. (It was the Instagram thing, wasn’t it)? The midterms are less than two weeks away. Now what? Well, the bad news is that each state has its own separate rules regarding voter registration, absentee voting, early voting, voter ID, etc. The good news is that you can find your particular state’s information here. (If you happen to be reading this as an American citizen living in another country, you can get more info starting here). Once you check your registration, this helpful directory can lead you to your local polling place. It may take a few clicks, but persistence is a virtue! Unfortunately, you may have missed your state’s deadline to register to vote in the upcoming midterms. Have no fear! Complete the application process anyway so that you’re prepared for next time.
And if you’re super inspired, find out how you can get involved on the ground floor, whether it’s making phone calls for a candidate, handing out party information outside polling places, or placing a sign for or against local bonds on your front lawn. If you’re not sure how to do this in your particular city or town, leave a comment below, and I will personally help you find a local group to get involved with.
The Adult Dish is all about helping us be more functional adults. Do this. Help our society function.