something struck me. First, I wondered, as I do every time I read it, why I WAS reading it. But that’s a story for another day.
The story was Vote Board to Robbins: Turn Pissy into PSA! and the part that struck me was a comment, meant to be prideful, from a representative of the BoE (Board of Elections):
“In our city of 8 million people with 4.6 million registered voters, 2.6 million registered voters went to the polls on Election Day.”
Now, okay. I can deal with only 57.5% citizens being registered. Really. Because I’m guessing that a significant percentage of the remaining 52.5% are minors or otherwise ineligible.
No, the part that struck me was pride in a not even 57% voter turnout rate! 4,600,000 registered voters, and 2,600,000 turned out to vote. (Please note the preceding figures apply only to NYC).
In a country where ALL citizens have only been eligible to vote since 1957 (see a note at the end), and blacks and poor whites were often forbidden from voting because they couldn’t pay the “poll tax” or pass a literacy test until 1964, a 56.5% voter turnout rate is utterly and TOTALLY inexcusable. Even on the federal level, it’s estimated that only around 62% turned out.
To this I can only say: WHAT THE FUCK, AMERICA?!
Voting is a privilege that can be and has been taken away, whether by the government or by other citizens so desperate for their candidate to win that they would tell voters that they are to vote on a different day (as happened in the last election).
It is still your right, but dammit, if you don’t USE your right, you may well LOSE IT!
Why am I shouting? you ask.
Am I angry? you say.
YOU DAMN WELL BET I AM!
We live in a country where we are lucky enough to have the right, the privilege, to vote. Many, MANY millions of world residents do not. And people are apathetic or just LAZY enough to ignore it!
The sad thing is… this projected turnout…? It’s the highest in FORTY FOUR YEARS. In 1964, 61.9% of registered voters turned out. In 1996, not EVEN half did–only 49.1%.
It’s your right, use it or lose it.
PS: If you didn’t vote in the last election, and you were eligible, I better not hear you bitching at ALL about a) how the election turned out, or b) the state of affairs for the next 4 years. You all that didn’t exercise your right to speak up, just lost your right to bitch.
Election statistics from:
2008: Dr M. McDonald, George Mason University
All previous years: InfoPlease
*American Indians, despite becoming legal US citizens in 1924, were not always allowed to vote. That right was governed by the individual state until 1957. “Indian Citizenship Act” Library of Congress, American Memory, Today in history