In my previous post, I wrote about voter turnout in national elections and referenced one of the reasons often cited by people who do not vote — inconvenience.
Even though most states offer 10-12 hours of opportunity to vote, many people still find it difficult to squeeze it into the “First Tuesday” cycle.
A copout? Perhaps.
When it comes to civic engagement, nothing seems easier as a way to participate than voting.
But most Americans do not.
With the Republican primaries well underway and a general election in November, a lot of attention focuses on voters.
But a recent news article drew my attention to who does not get to vote, more specifically, the voting rights extended to convicted felons.
I voted in my first presidential election in 1972, at age 20. The class of 1972 represented the first batch of college-age kids younger than 21 to do that.
I felt proud, and I have never missed a vote in a presidential election.
After months of television debates and attack ads, recorded telephone solicitations and political mailers, to say nothing of campaign yard signs, we’re ready to cast our ballots and to start counting them.
In 2007, Barack Obama reached hundreds of thousands of voters through social media and e-mail campaigns. Today, Sarah Palin has more than 2.3 million Facebook followers. In 2010, most vote-seekers use a website and a Facebook or Twitter page to solicit donations and hope their messages go viral.
We’ve discussed the economy, immigration reform, health care and other midterm election issues. Judging from the press coverage, reporters seem to think the public is as interested in Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell’s constitutional beliefs and witchcraft as it is in lower taxes, the mortgage crisis, and health care for the uninsured.
A recent Pew Research Center for the People & the Press study shows 28 percent of Americans surveyed are following the struggling economy in the media compared with 12 percent who said they were doing the same with the congressional election coverage. With the worst recession—or depression, some say—in decades, Democrats, Republicans, and the Tea Party movement attribute current economic woes to the “other” party.
Arizona’s immigration laws sparked international controversy by requiring police to collect proof of citizenship from suspected undocumented immigrants. The state lost convention business and sports organizers pulled events to protest what many believe is a policy that will lead to racial profiling.
The battle for health-care reform was lengthy, and had ill effects among some members of the body politic. President Obama, backed by Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, this year passed a health-care law that promises affordable care and tax credits, and an end to denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. Republicans vow to "Repeal and Replace" it if they capture the House and Senate this November. Piece by piece, they would repeal provisions of the law and delay its implementation.
The Republicans’ “Pledge to America” is a list of proposed changes and promises to fix Congress. The G.O.P. pledge, sounding much like the Declaration of Independence, covers health care reform, spending, taxes, national security, and jobs creation. The official website of the pledge, pledge.gop.gov, says “America is more than a country…it’s an idea.” The principles the Republican Congressional leadership advance, 21 pages worth, are admirable, but can they work? Tell us whether you will vote for your senator or representative on the basis of the Pledge to America, and why.