There were many African American women instrumental in the fight for voting rights. As we celebrate Harriet Tubman as well as the 19th Amendment, we must also look at the intersection of voting, race and gender.
I’m not much of a “let me take a selfie” kind of woman, but it’s all about the evidence (I am the Resident Legal Diva after all).
So here it is. I early voted today.
On Miami Beach, it wasn’t too bad. Definitely more people than during the primaries; but certainly low numbers. I’m hopeful that the numbers will increase as early voting comes to a close, and as November 4 arrives.
There are two themes that keeps recurring. One is “I’m so tired of those nasty ads on television and radio. How do I know what’s true? One is as bad as the other”
The second theme is “I know I’m supposed to do my research, but I’m busy. Being an informed voter takes WORK. I have a job, family, kids….ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Well, here is my answer to both.
That magical thing called the Internet.
There is a great site called Politifact that is run by a group of non partisan journalists. They fact check the claims of politicians across the country, and rate them as True, Half True or False. You can even submit facts for them to check or requests for corrections. That’s a great way to see if what was said in debates or in the ads was true.
Also, go on the election website for your county. You can check out a sample ballot to see what amendments are on the ballot. Usually, the main newspaper in your area will break down the issues and endorse or object to an amendment. You don’t have to agree…but what you gain is the explanation in plain English. It makes it easier to make a decision from there.
Lastly, if there is one person in your circle that you trust, task them with doing the research. But also make them break it down for you so that you understand the issues. At the end of the day, YOU are responsible for your vote — make sure you are clear on what you are voting on!
Voting determines our destiny as a nation. If it wasn’t so important, voter suppression wouldn’t be an issue. Voting fraud wouldn’t be a crime. Voter ID laws wouldn’t be so hotly contested.
This is your life. Your future. So many are quick to complain, march and protest; while it is important that your opinion be heard, politicians respond to the power of the ballot box. Use it or lose it!
Since it is 20 days away from election day, I’m shifting my focus to politics and the law. I am a firm believer in educating yourself on the issues and knowing what you are voting for. All elections are critical, not just the presidential years!
An interesting article was published by the Associated Press today, indicating that the frustrations of the community in St. Louis have risen to new heights. There has been a movement by some African American voters in St. Louis County, in response to the events in Ferguson, to vote for Republican candidates in the upcoming election. The feeling is that the Democrats in power, from the local level to the governor’s office, have ignored the needs of the community that has supported them faithfully for decades.
The emotion that some voters have of being “used” is not uncommon. Time after time, candidates and elected officials across the country appear in the communities that need them the most only during the election cycle; they are not seen again until the next election. Certainly, those politicians should be held accountable.
But as the old phrase goes, “look deep before you leap”.
Make sure to research whoever you are voting for. Votes should not be cast out of anger, or revenge, because it is the community who suffers in the end. Take a look at each candidate, and look at where they stand on ALL the issues. If they are in the legislature, pull their voting history. Look at what organizations or charities the candidate dedicated his or her time to. These are all signs of whether or not the candidate’s interests align with yours.
If the Republican candidate appeals to you across the board, fine.
If you find that your values are not compatible, then the next best strategy is to put pressure on the leaders of your local Democratic party, letting them know that the current slate is unacceptable. Find a candidate and back them, whether via write in, or a grassroots movement. As we have seen in recent history, social media is a powerful tool in getting information, and creating campaigns. This is why it is critical to vote in your party’s primaries — the primary votes send a clear message to the party as to whether or not an elected official is on the right track.
Another article came out today indicating that a record number of African Americans are seeking elected office right now. Some of those candidates are running as Republicans. See the article here. This is a perfect example of taking charge of your destiny, and being the change you want to see.
Food for thought!