Today, I voted. No, I don’t want any applause. I’m not the best at voting during mid-term elections, but I did today. I made it a point–got rid of the excuses and went to my polling place, where there was no line.
Why did I vote today? SO I would have a blog post topic? Nah, although it’s nice to have something to write about. I voted because I had an investment in the results or at least someone, somewhere made me feel like I had an investment in the results.
I am as sick of politicians as the next gal, but we have to put our confidence in someone because it’s the way our country is run. But I didn’t go today to vote for any one candidate. I went because of a proposed amendment (number 3) to the Missouri Constitution that basically wants to use standardized tests to fund schools and pay teachers. This is a terrible, horrible idea, and I pray to God it does not pass. (Okay, do you wonder how I voted on this issue?) I have several friends who are teachers–two who made passionate pleas to vote no on this amendment. I also used to be a teacher myself, and I will soon have a daughter in Kindergarten. So, I have a personal connection to this issue. I got my butt to the polling place and voted.
But I shouldn’t be this way. I should vote every election. I should find out the issues and cast my vote. But I don’t. And according to “The Economist,” I am not the only one: “UNLIKE presidential contests, America’s mid-term elections do not seem to inspire many people. In 2012 fully 59% of registered voters turned up at the polls for the presidential election. But two years earlier just 42% bothered to cast their votes in the 2010 mid-term elections, and this year’s turnout may be even lower.”
Then the writer goes on to tell us the sad news that young people between 18 and 24 turnout at even lower percentages, and it’s not because they are lazy as some older people like to say.
I think it’s because we don’ t make them feel connected to the election and the issues. Yes, of course, everyone SHOULD vote; and of course, if you live in the United States, you are affected by each election. But if you don’t feel like it, then you won’t be motivated to make an effort and cast your ballot.
So, what do we do?
Instead of telling people to Rock the Vote or pledge to vote on their Tumblr blog, I think the answer is connection. If you are a politician or proposing or opposing an amendment, then SHOW people of all ages how this affects them AND. . .and this is a big AND, without the bull crap. No negative campaign ads. No statistics that are half-way reported to show favor for your issue. Make connections with real people. Show others how members of their family may be affected, honestly, if something passes or it doesn’t. This will get people to vote.
It got me there today.
I think one of the things I’m going to start doing is deciding if my characters in my novels would vote or not. I’m currently doing NaNoWriMo, and I’m working on a new YA contemporary novel about a community shooting. My two main characters are not old enough to vote, only 15 and 16, but their parents are. And although voting may never come up in the novel, I think I’m going to decide who would or wouldn’t. In Caught Between Two Curses, Julie is only 17, but will she register when she turns 18? I think she would. Heck, she broke a curse or two, she’s got confidence now, and so she sees her future as brighter and she has more stock in it.
What about you? What gets you there?
By the way, I’m holding a $10 Amazon gift card contest during the month of November and until December 18. Anyone who buys a copy of any of my books from me or a third-party site gets an entry for each book purchased. Gift card e-mailed on December 19. E-mail me (margo @ margodill (dot) com) to buy a copy, or e-mail me your receipt OR go to http://margodill.com/blog/books/