We have all kinds of excuses for failing to vote, and there is no doubt that current rule changes, particularly in Southern states, make voting harder for the poor and the elderly. But just about 25 percent of those eligible to vote are not even registered to vote, taking them out of the statistics entirely. We can blame the system for that if we like—same-day registration should be an option in this mobile society, and we need to modernize the process. I still have people on my voting lists who died or moved years ago. But ultimately, it comes down to individual choice and thus individual responsibility. If you don't vote because you think America doesn't represent you, well, that's the definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn't it?
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Post Selma: How Are We Doing?
Selma was about a specific cause: The right to vote. Having worked so hard to gain that right, first for white male landowners, then for African-Americans, then for women, you'd think we'd do better than we do at actually exercising it. Countries in Europe manage to hit 80 percent voter turnout. Here, we manage 60 percent only in presidential years. Obama's candidacy led to a quick growth in African-American and youth voting, but turnout fell with enthusiasm by 2012.