Please Vote Today
The Texas legislature can make already arduous voting process even more onerous by instituting a new voter law that requires people to show an identification that has a “substantially similar” name. Sounds simple enough, until you consider that women commonly change their names. Maiden names get hyphenated with married names or become middle names or get dropped altogether. Under this new law, the ability to vote depends on whether an election official decides that a piece of ID does or does not have a “substantially similar” name as the one on the voter registration form. A Texas judge who could not vote in her own courthouse summed up the absurdity: “What I have used for voter registration and identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote. This is the first time I have ever had a problem voting.”
Now imagine transgender women and men trying to vote in states with these types of strict voter ID laws. Or insecurely-housed people who are homeless, living in shelters, or doubling-up with friends? How easy would it be for low-wage, hourly workers to take time off to vote, as long wait times are all too common? Professionals work in environments where that kind of flexibility is generally built in, but that is not the reality for many workers in low-wage industries. How hard is it for those living in economically precarious situations to successfully complete their civic duty on Election Day?
As with David and Goliath, big-money politicians have an easier time running for and winning office, and shaping policies that support their big-money interests; regular citizens have less resources, access and opportunity to make an equal impact. And yet, as Malcolm Gladwell's new his book highlights, David was not, it turns out, all that powerless. Underdogs—e.g., David, everyday voters—can win. We know that electocracy is not democracy, as Iraq has painfully shown us. However, voting and becoming part of political and decision-making processes is part of everyday people exercising power. We simply cannot and should not passively let our rights as citizens erode. Too many people have sweated, sacrificed and shed blood for this important civil and political right. So, please vote today. No ifs. No ands. No buts. Vote.