Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BLOG THE VOTE! (Why it's so important to register and to vote on Nov 4, and what us BLOGGERS can do to get the word out!)

Blog the Vote = Change the world


This election coming up on November 4, 2008 in the United States is a pivotal moment in history.

Blog the Vote is a one day Kid and Adult Lit Blogger Event, where we all blog on Monday Nov. 3rd about the importance of voting on Tuesday Nov. 4th.

Blog the Vote is about sharing WHY it's important to vote. It's about the issues that will be decided by whoever wins this election:

The War in Iraq
The Economy (taxes, philosophy, deficit)
The liberal/conservative balance of the Supreme Court
The right to be "innocent until proven guilty" and to have "a fair trial"
The power of the executive branch to indefinitely detain anyone they call an "enemy combatant"
America's Energy Plan - more oil or go green?

and here in California

The right of same-gender couples (like me & my husband) to be legally married.

Blog the Vote is not, however, about hate-speech or being rude - posts that overstep into nastiness won't be linked on the master list over at the amazing Colleen Mondor's Chasing Ray blog.

The deadline for registering to vote is October 20 here in California, but in some states it's earlier. In fact, absentee voting started YESTERDAY in some states!

You can go HERE to register!

You need more convincing?

Let's start here:

African Americans and women fought and bled and marched and died for the right to vote.

African Americans were legally given the right to vote by the 15th Amendment in 1870, but there were many ways that people fought and denied Black citizens the right to vote for almost 100 years.

1867 drawing of the first vote by African Americans

1963 March on Washington - the sign in front reads:
"WE DEMAND: Voting Rights Now!"

Black voting was restricted, particularly in the South, through "paralegal" methods until 1964, when the Civil Rights Act enforced the 15th Amendment, and the 24th Amendment ended poll taxing (which meant if you owed taxes, they denied you the right to vote). And the voting rights act of 1965 made it clear - African Americans truly, finally, had the right to vote.

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act -
and yes, that's Dr. Martin Luther Jr. just behind him!

Women only got the right to vote in the United States in the summer of 1920. People also FOUGHT tooth and nail against women getting to vote:

But women marched on.

women marching in 1912 for voting rights

And on...

Women parade down 5th Avenue in New York City in 1917,
carrying the signatures of over a million women,
demanding the right to vote.

Today, we take it for granted that everyone over 18 gets to vote (and yeah, it sucks that younger Teens are disenfranchised. Think what a difference it would make if everyone over 15 could vote...)

But look at these statistics:

In the last Presidential Election in 2004, there were 202,746,417 eligible voters in the USA. But only 122,294,978 voted. That's just under 61% voter participation.

We can do better!

Okay, lowering the voting age is not going to happen by election day, so let's concentrate on what we CAN do.

If you're old enough to vote, register, do your homework and know the issues and candidates, and VOTE! And then consider doing all three things listed below, too.

If you're not old enough to vote,

1. Talk to your family members and friends about how you WOULD vote if you could. Encourage them to take the election seriously. If you can convince someone about an issue you care deeply about and that changes their vote, YOU made a difference!

2. Offer to help get the whole family ready earlier than usual the morning of election day (Tuesday Nov 4, 2008) so your parents/caretakers have time to go to the polls before work. Making sure their votes get cast early (and they don't run out of time later in the day) is a great way to make a difference!

3. Offer to drive elderly or mobility-challenged relatives/neighbors to the polls (if you're 16 or 17 and driving.) This is another great way to help - but TALK to these people first and share with them WHY it's so important for you to help them vote!

And if you're a blogger, and you want to join in on this cool Blog the Vote event, here's Colleen explaining what to do:

Lee Wind and I are going to handle running the master schedule with direct links to all participating posts. If you want to take part in this One Shot, then you must email your url to Lee or myself (colleenatchasingraydotcom or leewindatroadrunnerdotcom) by that Monday and we will then read your post, grab a quote and run both quote and link here at my site. You must also include the link to the master schedule at the end of your own post, so your readers can come over here and see what everyone else thinks as well. (I will have the master schedule post up on Sunday, November 2nd so it's easy to find and link to. Posts will be added to it all day Sunday and Monday as they come in.) In the end we should have a cool collection of thoughts from all kinds of people that will express how significant democracy is to our lives personally and to our country as a whole.

We are talking a pretty awesome American moment if we do this right.

Pass the word around on your own blogs and let everyone know. Anyone can participate in this event - it's open to all. If you have any questions send them my way (or Lee's) and be sure to check back here for a very special One Shot event on November 3rd.

Oh and hey - MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!!!!!!!!!!

She's right about that "pretty awesome American moment if we do this right," isn't she? To read Colleen's whole announcement of the one-shot event, click here.

Okay, so now that you know, let's all

Blog the Vote!


Anonymous said...

I came over here from Sarah Laurenson's blog and love it! I'm revamping my site, but when it's done, may I link you? You can go here or here to see more about who I am.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Hi Aerin,
Welcome! I take it as a great compliment that someone who talks about writing, reading, and social activism would include me in her universe of Links, so yes, you may Link to my site from yours - thanks!

Colleen said...

This is fabulous Lee - a great way to get everyone excited about the project.

I will have some adult lit bloggers onboard though - so if anyone wants to participate they are welcome to, even if they don't blog about books for kids.

holly cupala said...

Here, here, Lee!

Sarah Laurenson said...

My wife and I thank you!

It's funny to see people linking to others through my blog. What a great time to be alive.

Mary Lee said...

Might be a good venue to encourage people to "vote up" when they vote -- vote starting from the bottom of the ballot -- vote starting with the still-important but smaller races and the VERY important ISSUES first before you cast your vote for the presidential nominee of your choice.