What?!?! Keeping Students from the Polls?
Just had to post this before I knock off for the night. I saw this article on my friend Daniel's facebook page and got all fired up about this whole push to keep out-of-state college students from voting in the upcoming election. This is simply outrageous. In the words of Roseanne Roseannadanna , "What are you tryin' to do, make me sick?!"
If I read the article correctly, there is a move afoot in a number of states to make it, let's say, "challenging" for out-of-state students to vote in person on Election Day. The article states, "Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal." I have two adult children who both live outside of California, one of whom is still in college, and I am absolutely going to make sure my daughter has the opportunity to utilize her birthright to vote for the first time in her life.
However, instead of continuing to be angry and frustrated (and sick) or giving up and staying quiet about this, I offer these invitations to take a stand against this injustice.
First... If you are an out-of-state student, make sure you REGISTER to vote! If you're an in-state student, register to vote! For goodness' sake, everyone - register to vote.
Second... Do your homework. Find out your state regulations regarding early voting, government-issued photo-id and other possibly very recently passed legislation that could affect your right to vote.
Third... I want to suggest that, rather than fight a likely uphill battle against this movement to silence millions of voters, college students could consider one of the following options:
1. Apply to get an absentee ballot mailed to you well in advance (like, 5 months!) of the election and be sure to return it to your home state before the deadline. Every state has different requirements, so search for "[your state] absentee ballot 2012" and you should find information on how to apply (if you can).
2. Create a MASSIVE grassroots movement of out-of-state college students returning home to vote in person. This could actually be a wonderfully creative way to generate a great voter turnout and save money on travel expenses by traveling during a non-holiday week. Hey, you could get two great meals out of it! You could have an early Thanksgiving celebration with your families and one with your college friends on the actual holiday.
Regardless of your political persuasion or of how broken you think our political system may or may not be, it is not only our right but also our privilege to vote. And having to miss your first (or maybe second) opportunity to participate in the democratic process because of such heinous legislative sleight-of-hand is absolutely tragic.
As the NY Times Editorial stated, "Imposing these restrictions to win an election will embitter a generation of students in its first encounter with the machinery of democracy." As far as I can see, many students are already embittered. Why add more fuel to a fire that's already burning?
I'm just sayin'... "There's more than one way to skin a cat," as my grandfather Elsworth used to say.
Students, young people... you do not have to buy into the fear mongering you see and hear in the media, nor do you have to "go gentle into that good night." If you can't "rage against the dying of the light" of your birthright, at least you can get around it. You can join forces with other young people around the globe - there are thousands of ways to stand up and be heard.
Be creative, be bold, stand for your right to vote and be counted. Because, now more than ever, every act matters. Now, more than ever, every one of us matters.
Okay, that's my 2 cents worth in the first minutes of the third day of this RE-EVOLUTIONARY New Year!
love to all....