Bee Rights: Occupy a Voting Booth

Today is election day and I plan to occupy a voting booth – just temporary, long enough to cast my ballot and out. I’m not going to pitch a tent or make any cardboard signs. Perhaps if MORE people actually participated in the democratic process by exercising their right to vote, some of the problems people complain about might have been prevented in the first place. Fact is, only ye about 38% vote in so-called “off-year” elections.

Yeah, I have mentioned that before… but I like statistics and I was curious.  Here’s some more.

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2010 Voter Turnout Statistics 

(note:  VEP=Voting Eligible Population)

  • Which state had the highest voter turnout in 2010?  MAINE  55.5% VEP went to the polls.
  • Which state had the least?  TEXAS – only 32.3% VEP bothered to vote, but the District of Columbia had a lower turnout of 28.2%  VEP  that surprised me, considering that is our capital.
  • What about my state?  OHIO 44.6% VEP  (if you want to check your state, click here )

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It is NOT just 2010… off years election haven’t topped 40% VAP (voting age population) since the mid 1970’s.   Weeds sprout in a garden not tended… and it has not been properly tended in over 35 years!  When the “we the people” quit voting, when complacency sets in, those who DO vote choose the people who make the decisions.  It is a known fact that the higher your income is, the more likely you are to vote.  Most poor people do not vote. There are stats out there on that, too.

I’ll tell you a secret: the voting system is NOT broken.   Oh, it has flaws… but it still works.

That “oh it is broken” excuse for not voting has to be the most lame thing I’ve ever heard.  Yes, I’ve been hearing that nonsense when I’ve voiced my opinion on this matter both locally and online.  Stop and think – if it was really “broken” then WHY would so much money, time, and effort be put into trying to sway voters opinions one way or another?  WHY would certain groups distribute misinformation trying to stop other people from voting?  Or do things like push for laws to limit certain demographics from voting, such as photo ID’s required and then close BMV locations in poorer neighborhoods to make it more difficult to get a photo ID?

Oh yeah, there are people who will counter with statistics claiming a certain percentage of votes fail to be counted and we all remember the hanging chads, there is always something – but if the people went out en mass to vote, so many that it would override whatever small percentage is lost, if we the people cared enough to insist on exercising our constitutional right to vote as we do for our right to assemble or free speech… stop and think…  people of this nation had to fight for the right to vote as the original constitution only gave the right to white males.  The POWER is IN the vote.

All these years…  that “why bother, my vote doesn’t really count” has been the biggest propaganda nonsense out there and the majority of people have swallowed it hook, line and sinker…  just think about it.  What better way to prevent people from voting than convincing them that it does not matter… votes don’t count, the system is flawed… and now we have “it is broken.”   This type of thinking silences the voice of democracy, quietly steals your constitutional right to have a say in what goes on in our government.

If you want change in this country, the power is in the vote.  Yes, that is worth repeating:  the constitutional power of government by the people is in the vote.  Rich, poor, weak, strong, black, white, whatever… one person, one vote, cast one by one… equal.  The power is in the vote.  Imagine if 99% of eligible voters actually voted.  Even presidential elections barely get 60% VEP.

And if you don’t like the METHOD of voting in your location, get involved on the LOCAL level and work to change it.   Some people think that is a Federal thing, but it is a local thing governed by STATE laws.  Like here in my area, the local board just invested in PAPER ballot machines with an optical scanner for each poll.  I like that.  It provides a paper trail for recounts or verification, or in case those optical scanners fail.   I know that is one of the things on the Occupy want list as I have read “The New Common Sense” – I found the link on twitter – if you want to read it, click here.  I’m not sure if it is an “official” OWS document or if the anonymous author(s) just want it to become a document embraced by all Occupy groups.  Everyone should read it.  Then read it again.  I am not going to ask your opinion anymore than I would ask you how you vote… that is your own personal thing.

Oh… the bee?  Some of us still believe that voting gives us the right to complain so even if you think your vote does not count (some years, me and my sister pretty much just cancelled each others votes out when we voted opposite sides on things) go vote so you’ll have a legitimate right to be a bee.

Yes, I know… I said no more soapbox rants… but it is election day.  Please pardon my exception.  😀

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for mentioning “The New Common Sense” it is gaining much support both in and outside the Occupy movement. I have been voting for over 35 years, I am concerned about the way we vote (electronically) and there being no paper trail. Voting is still important, especially on local levels.

    • Ohio law now requires a paper backup even with touchscreens, but to me that is like trusting an ATM machine with a cash deposit, something I don’t do, so I’m glad that my area switched back to paper ballots. Cost was a deciding factor as the manufacturer no longer makes or repairs the touchscreen models that they purchased in 2002 for 2.95M and we had 200+ non-working machines. Paper ballots with optical scanners for each polling place was much cheaper than upgrading touchscreens, saved the county at least two million. That might be a selling point to help convince your area to switch back to paper. Good luck and thanks for commenting!

  2. I agree with you and proud to say that I vote at elections other than just presidential ones. It bothers me when people say why vote, cause their vote doesn’t matter?….Well, if EVERYONE felt that way, then how would anything get changed? Every vote does matter! And I love your little bee! 🙂

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