Here in the United States, the first Tuesday of every November is Election Day. Some times we vote for a new President and Senators; other times it’s just county and municipal elections. For this week’s edition of (Almost) Wordless Wednesday, I have photos from Election Day for you.
Sweet Husband and I went to vote together; we finally changed our addresses and have a new precinct. It was actually a little confusing because we have city and county precincts, and I wasn’t quite sure which one were supposed to be about (we didn’t get a sample ballot in the mail).
There weren’t a lot of cars in the parking, although when I signed into the register, I was voter 641 in our precinct…given that the polls opened at 7:00, and we didn’t go to vote until about 5:00, that number doesn’t see too promising to me. Depending on what you read and where you are, the predictions for voter turn-out for this election are around 25%…which is about what it was for the primary in August. I’d like to say that is an unusual event for us here in the States but the truth is that we don’t typically have good turn-out for elections…even in big elections like the Presidential race…so an off-year low turn-out isn’t surprising.
The last few times I’ve voted, I’ve used an electronic voting machine, and it’s odd how quickly you get used to something. When we realized that we were getting paper ballots, both Sweet Husband and I were surprised. We had to show picture ID in order to be able to vote, and if you aren’t in the US, you may not know how controversial that requirement is. I’m not sure how I feel about voter ID – on the one hand it doesn’t seem like so onerous a requirement but on the other hand, it certainly is true that voter ID addresses a problem (voter fraud) that simply does not exist…and if it ain’t broke, why bother fixing it?
This election was for statewide offices and just a few local posts. In addition to that, perhaps the biggest issue being decided by voters in Mississippi today was an issue of school funding…which was really the reason I made sure I made it to the polls.
As a teacher, educational funding is important to me. Additionally, here in the state of Mississippi, we are ranked 48th in education, and our schools in the Delta struggle to recruit and retain qualified teachers. There are districts in this state that cannot hire teachers with more than 5 years of experience, a masters degree or National Board Certification…because they can’t afford the budget expense. In a state where poverty is rampant and life can be extremely difficult because health care isn’t available to most of our citizens, education can be a ticket out of desperation. Our legislature is supposed to fund education at a level that allows schools to reach a “C” level, but they haven’t done so. The voices against 42 are funded by forces who are interested in privatizing education. The rhetoric has gotten incredibly ugly.
This is the first time I’ve gotten an “I Voted” sticker – usually when I vote they are all already gone.
And finally, SH and I, flashing our support for Initiative 42.
As of this writing, I don’t know if Initiative 42 has passed. I’m not very hopeful because the ballot was so very confusing, but I hope. More than that, though, I believe we have to figure out how to motivate young people to go to the polls. I remember that I couldn’t wait to vote. Could. Not. Wait. Today when we spoke to our students about voting, they universally said that they won’t be voting because their vote doesn’t matter. As SH and I have watched the returns come in this week, we have seen in some counties (*counties* not precinct – *counties*) with turn-outs as low as 100 voters. As we’ve watched initial returns come in, in a state with a population of 3,000,000 we are seeing vote totals of 80,000 – 90,000. It is sad and pathetic, and when I see those kinds of numbers, I know why we have the government we do and why we have the issues we do in this country. Considering all of the sacrifices that have been made to ensure voting rights – death, imprisonment, violent assaults – it is shameful that more of us don’t vote.
Do you vote? Were there any hotly contested races in your neck of the woods yesterday? What keeps you from voting if you don’t?
By the way – are any of you on The List App? I signed up today and made my first list – Why I’m Going to Vote Today. It was fun & I can see doing more lists. Join me & follow along!
Where I’m linking up today.