VOTE

PART_1414966271790_20141102_161041Mid-term elections.  What’s the point?   There are a lot of them actually.  It’s easy to get caught up in the Presidential races.  There’s a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of hype that goes into those campaigns.  It’s a high-profile race for a high-profile job.

Thing is, the mid-term elections are for jobs a lot closer to home.  The legislators aren’t representing the whole country, but your state.  The state office holders are representing your district (which at least includes your neighborhood).  City office holders determine things like snowplow schedules and lawn maintenance rules.

There are other even closer to home issues that come up on midterm ballots.  Sometimes there are local ordinances and issues – vote yes/vote no to a proposition that changes how things run in your city.  Or vote yes/vote no to a school tax referendum.

Yes there really was such an organization!

Yes there really was such an organization!

On the heels of Samhein, Halloween, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Dia de los Muertos I am reminded that many of our ancestors fought hard for the right to vote.   Women couldn’t vote in this country until 1920.  That’s 145 years that we couldn’t vote and less than 100 that we could.  Blacks, or at least black men, were theoretically given the right to vote nationally in 1870.  In both cases there was strong enough opposition that people actively worked to keep blacks and women from the polls.

Husbands would forbid their wives to vote, and pastors preached against women exercising that right.   Taxes, tests, and intimidation prevented most blacks from exercising their right to vote until the voting rights act of 1965.  We still see active legislation (like for voter ID’s), and intimidation to try and prevent “undesirable populations” from exercising their right to vote.

From the Minnesota Historical Society: Proceedings of the Convention of Colored Citizens of the State of Minnesota program, 1869. This program was presented at the first political convention black Minnesotans held after gaining the right to vote. The celebration held on January 1, 1869 in St. Paul also marked the creation of the Sons of Freedom, the first African American civil rights group in Minnesota.

From the Minnesota Historical Society: Proceedings of the Convention of Colored Citizens of the State of Minnesota program, 1869. This program was presented at the first political convention black Minnesotans held after gaining the right to vote. The celebration held on January 1, 1869 in St. Paul also marked the creation of the Sons of Freedom, the first African American civil rights group in Minnesota.

When we vote we stand on the backs of those who went before us.  As disenchanting as the system may be it still works better when there is more participation.   My daughter says she’s often not happy enough with either candidate to vote for them.   I explained to her about how people get to be on the ballot.

If there is a certain percentage voting for your party in the previous election, that party is automatically included on the ballot for next one.   I have voted for a 3rd party candidate just because I believe we should have more than two choices.  If I can’t vote for someone I like, I can at least vote for inclusion.

Minnesota has historically high voter turn out.  We are often highest in the country or at least in the top 5.  We tend to average about 67% turn out.  This year may be higher as they’ve expanded the rules for absentee ballots.   You no longer have to actually be absent.  Anyone could go down to their city hall and request a ballot, or request one on-line.  The city halls are set up as polling places, or you could take it home and mail it in (or drop it off another day).

City Hall was set up as a polling place, but we brought our ballots home.

City Hall was set up as a polling place, but we brought our ballots home.

Orion and I took full advantage of that this year and voted early.  It was much easier for us than finding our polling place (which moves depending on the year.)   It also meant we didn’t have to stand in line.  Additionally the accommodations for Orion’s disabilities are much more readily addressed at home than in a busy polling place.

So please, honor your ancestors and vote.

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Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way.  After the election this gravesite was visited by a number of women and decorated with their “I Voted’ stickers.

photo by Deborah Ketchum

photo by Deborah Ketchum

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About lisaspiral

I've been writing and speaking about spirituality to small groups for years and am looking to expand my horizons. Hopefully this blog will inspire you to expand yours as well.

Posted on November 3, 2014, in Bio, fall, seasonal, spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I just got back from voting! What a thoughtful informative blog post. We are lucky to have a say in the world. It’s just sometimes so hard to figure out HOW to vote.

  2. I voted a coupla weeks ago. The biggie is around the corner. I’ll stay up to see if our current governor is booted out. He’s against Jimmy Carter’s grandson. And the senate race will be even more interesting. The ads will have you thinking it’s all true and untrue at the same time if you’re not paying attention.

  3. I voted too, and am so glad this election is over. I always vote. As you say, we (women) fought too hard to have the right to disregard it.

  4. Amen, Lisa! Gotta vote–even when most of the option are bad. It’s a good exercise in decision-making, at least. Sorry to have been so absent of late. I have a LOT of excuses but probably none of them is good enough. I’ve missed you!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

  5. It’s great to see numbers like 67%. I wish everywhere was like that.

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