The Declaration of Independence states: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Powerful stuff.
On Nov. 6, we can show what that consent means with our vote. We can even vote early, beginning Saturday, Oct. 20. Before that’s done, one must be registered. The deadline for online registration deadline is today, Oct. 18. Then, muster the will and enthusiasm to get out there and show the politicians their power comes from you.
For those who think their vote doesn’t matter, think again. Almost 92 million eligible Americans did not vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to the United States Election Project, www.electproject.org/2016g . Your vote doesn’t matter? In the 2014 midterm elections, an estimated 143 million eligible Americans failed to vote, marking the lowest voter participation in 72 years, www.americanprogress.org/issues/democracy/reports/2018/07/11/453319/increasing-voter-participation-america . A 2012 study by The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that “at least 51 million eligible U.S. citizens,” or 24 percent of the voting-eligible population in the United States, are not registered to vote.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want fewer and fewer voters determining election outcomes. Do you? I happen to agree with majority results, because I trust most voters to have common sense and approve correct measures. The smaller the voting pool, the more obtuse the results.
Decisions made by politicians don’t always display anything close to common sense, nor do they take correct measures. So much legislation is convoluted with an assortment of issues rolled into one piece of legislation.
Politicians respond to a vocal assemblage of reliable voters who keep returning them to office. Fair? Hardly, but if eligible voters stay home, why would politicians concern themselves with accountability? Why should politicians give a fig about protests, letters, phone calls, emails and any other kind of communication when they know millions don’t register to vote, much less cast a ballot?
I’m not a pollster, nor have I talked to millions of people throughout my lifetime, but I can say with 100 percent assurance that most people I have talked to in the past eight months have more in common with me than topics with which we disagree.
Since March, I have occupied myself with registering voters and calling voters of all persuasions reminding them to vote in the midterms. I believe that everyone should vote. Period.
With each encounter, I try to understand a person’s level of enthusiasm, lack thereof and civic knowledge. What stands out in nearly all these experiences is the scarcity of basic facts voters have. I’m not simply talking about knowing the candidates and their positions on issues. Folks are unaware of their precinct, assembly district or senate district — the list continues. They’re not sure who their representatives are. They don’t know if they have a voter registration card. If you don’t know your elected officials, chances are, you’re not going to get in touch with them to hold them accountable.
Ah, but many will grouse about everything the government touches. They have the answers to what will fix the problems. They will blame any and every politician whose name they can remember. I admit that politicians of all persuasions deserve blame for a multitude of their actions, but when Election Day comes, the faults of politicians are forgotten. Folks are too busy to vote. Something will keep them from casting that ballot.
Voters in Boulder City are quite exceptional when it comes to voting compared to our neighbors. And, for that reason, every registered voter in Boulder City should make it his or her responsibility to reach for perfection. Can you imagine every registered voter in Boulder City casting a ballot in the midterm elections?
It is not impossible. In the 2016 general election, the 11 Boulder City precincts saw 80.6 percent of the voters cast ballots. In the midterm 2014 Congressional District 3 race alone, 61.4 percent of the voters went to the polls.
I’ve heard Boulder City called “paradise.” Voters can make it an electoral one.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-339-9082.