Archive for July, 2012

Low Voter Registration: It is not Apathy

When we are registering voters to expand our progressive base it is not apathy, per se, that is the biggest problem we encounter. Probably, the largest problem we find is convincing people that they are not registered, because they move around a lot and do not realize they need to reregister when their address changes. The second largest problem is getting people to fill out their forms legibly and completely.

Yes, of course, there is some apathy. However, we find a fair amount of concern about societal problems, and strangely enough “concern” can be a partial factor that sometimes prevents electoral participation. Here is one of the more interesting conversations we have had.

Volunteer: How come you don’t want to register?

Citizen: Well . . . the last time I voted it was for George W. Bush, and I don’t want to make the same mistake again. I know voting is important, but I don’t know enough about the parties and candidates to make a good decision. Candidates will say anything to get elected, and it is too hard to tell who is telling the truth. However, if I could just vote on the initiatives, I would register.

Volunteer: Actually, you can skip anything on the ballot you are not comfortable with, and we will send you a working class person’s voting guide.

Citizen: Okay, then I will register.

We, of course, target for progressive voters pretty aggressively.  We do so by announcing ourselves as Democrats, working Democratic locations, and the most aggressively going after young, low-income people, women, and minorities.

When people say their vote does not count

When hundreds of people in Florida said their vote did not count, Bush won Florida and thus the nation.  When millions say their vote does not count, working class people lose their health care and college tuition; they lose their homes and their retirement pensions.