Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On Getting More Voters

This topic has been on my mind because of two recent conversations. The first was with a youngish black man at the bar and the second was with a younger female friend. Both illustrate the level of voter apathy and the need to convince more people to vote.
The young man at the bar was bitching about Bush, so I asked who he voted for. His response was "I don't vote. Nobody running for office represents me".
The women friend was complaining about how many people that she knows who don't vote because "one vote isn't going to change anything".
Here's my response:
Yes, one vote won't change much. But consider the numbers. Out of Americans who are eligible to register to vote, slightly less than 50% actually register to vote. Of the registered voters, just over 50% actually cast ballots. This means that 25% of the electorate are participating, which means that roughly 13% is all that is needed to decide elections. If more people were involved, then there would be more responsive candidates. The candidates would be more concerned about public interests, and less beholden to special interests.
So my question is: How do we convince these folks that voting is important, and that more of them voting will bring us better choices.
It's easy to think of 2008 being far away, but it's not. The time to start is now. Otherwise, we could get stuck with Shrub2, the nightmare continues.

No comments: