For a couple of years now I’ve been a certified election official. That means I’m one of those friendly poll workers who checks your ID or gets you set up at a voting booth on Election Day. I’ve learned quite a bit after working a handful of elections so far.
One thing I’ve learned for sure: More of us need to be voting.
During San Antonio’s May 4 mayoral election, the polling site I worked had only 372 voters out of 5,000+ registered voters in the three precincts we served. Yet, 372 voters is more than a lot of polling sites got this past Election Day. Based on whom I saw that day, I’d say the greatest turnout was from older voters in their sixties and seventies, some even older, many of them using canes and walkers and other assistance. What I didn’t see were many families or younger voters. My question is: Why not? Where were they?
So here is what I’m asking you:
Vote like your kids are watching, because…
1. They are.
We know they are watching us, right? We are especially reminded of this when we see glimpses of ourselves in their behavior or hear a slip of our favorite curse word come out of their mouths. Our kids are watching us. So, let’s take them to the polls! I used to love going to vote with my parents. Back in those days, my mom or dad would carry me in their arms as the curtain closed behind us in the voting booth. Sometimes they would even let me pull the lever. I couldn’t wait to start building those memories with my kids. It’s never too early to get the next generation of voters started! If we are lucky, our kids might even look up to us, so let’s show them we are informed and engaged in our civic duty. I love this article from the Girls Scouts: Should Your Girl Come With You To Vote?
2. You’ll do anything for them.
We do all sorts of crazy things for our kids. We’ll camp out overnight at a daycare we desperately want to get our kid into or stand in a Black Friday line to get them their favorite toy for the holidays. There’s probably been a time or two we stayed up late helping them finish a school project. All for our kids, right?
Election results affect all of us, kids included (take a look at that Girl Scouts article again for examples of the issues that impact our kids). Let’s carve out a bit of time to research the candidates and the issues on the ballot so we are prepared on election day. I often pick up a Voter’s Guide from the League of Women Voters at my branch library and find articles from trusted outlets to help me choose my candidate in an informed manner.
3. History matters.
June 4, 1919. Know what happened that day in history? Congress passed the 19th Amendment, which was ratified August 18, 1920, guaranteeing American women the right to vote. I personally think it’s very cool that early voting for the 2019 San Antonio mayoral and city council runoffs will be taking place right as we mark 100 years since the 19th Amendment was passed. Our kids are learning in school about democracy, elected officials, the branches of government, the Constitution, and its amendments. This election I’ll be teaching my kids about the historical moment that took place on June 4th, one hundred years ago.
4. Democracy relies on it.
Here is Merriam-Webster’s definition of democracy:
: government by the people
especially : rule of the majority
Awesome. We live in a democracy. But here’s the catch: A “government by the people” is dependent upon those people voting. Do you know what percentage of San Antonio’s registered voters actually voted in the May election? A whopping 13%. So, 87% of those registered voters decided to sit on the sidelines. That means the majority of our population is not participating in the democratic process. Can we still call that a democracy? Is that upsetting to you like it is to me?
5. Your opinion DOES matter.
When I recently asked a woman if she voted in the last election, she replied, “My husband says, ‘What’s the point?’ None of that stuff matters anyway.” She proceeded to tell me that her husband also told her, “If you go vote, don’t call me asking who to vote for.”
I had to be careful how I responded because her story triggered my feminist values. Here is what I will say to all women and spouses: your opinion does matter, and it doesn’t have to be the same as your partner’s. We all have our own opinions. Your opinion is your vote. And, yes, every vote counts.
Want to learn more about going to the polls with your little (and big) ones? Check out this article 6 Things to Know About Voting With Your Kids.
So go on with your bad self and…
Pull that lever.
Cast that ballot.
Take that sticker.
Snap that picture.
Tag that friend.
#getoutYOURvote and #getoutHERvote too!
Early Voting: May 28–June 4 (Vote at ANY polling site.)
Election Day: June 8 (Vote at your precinct’s designated polling site.)
What you need to know for this election:
If you are registered to vote, all you need is your Texas driver’s license or personal identification card issued by DPS. Voter registration card is not required to vote (though sometimes it can help), so don’t waste too much time looking for yours. Take a look at these Voting FAQs.
On the ballot this time around are candidates in runoff elections for city offices: Mayor, District 2, District 4, and District 6.