In implementing certain laws, many law-abiding citizens, such as people of color, the disabled, and the elderly, face obstacles that limit their ability to engage in our democratic process. This is a significant population that continues to be politically underrepresented.
Although individuals only need to register once unless their address or name has changed, the voter registration process can be confusing for many people. Qualifications required for voter registration vary from state to state, and due to this intricate process, many voters may not have the right information needed to register. This issue is coupled with the fact that people are often not made aware of an upcoming election until it is too late to register.
In Texas, the registration requirements are as follows:
One of the biggest issues facing our democratic process is the notoriously low voter turnout for local elections. On average, only 21% of eligible voters participate in key local elections that will directly affect their everyday lives. In addition to having significantly reduced campaign spending and poor media coverage, this national problem is significantly due the fact that local elections are held separately from national elections. As a result, voters have to actively stay aware of upcoming elections held throughout the year.
In Texas, state officials have closed hundreds of polling places, largely affecting communities of color. Due to a rise in polling place closures, many voters have to endure long lines at locations that are financially unequipped and understaffed. As a result, hundreds of eligible voters are discouraged from voting due to having time conflicts involving work or children or having physical disabilities preventing them from standing for hours to vote.
There are plenty of ways that we work to circumvent these barriers. It is more important than ever for the youth to get more involved to elect politicians that fight for every American's right to vote.
60% of poll workers are over the age of 60. By having younger, more diverse workers, we can strength the backbone of our democratic process. Efficient, well-trained workers help ensure everyone is able to exercise their right to vote as a US citizen. No voter should be turned away or discouraged due to inconsistent rules or long wait times. In addition, a younger election worker population will keep young voters informed of local, state, and national elections and increase voter turnout.
By partaking in local elections, you can ensure your voice is heard in decisions that directly affect your community. One of the biggest barriers preventing large voter turnouts is lack of accessible, clear-cut information regarding local candidates and propositions. Fortunately, you can reach out to local politicians and directly work for them as a canvasser or lit dropper to help voters make educated decisions. These individuals go door-to-door to inform voters and mobilize communities to action.
We believe that it is vital that every voice is heard and that every vote counts regardless of your race, gender, sexuality or social class. Our elections must reflect the will of the people. Contact your senator(s) now and encourage them to support the The Freedom to Vote: John Lewis Voting Rights Act!