Sadly, there is a widespread vote suppression effort under way in this country where 37 states have enacted or are contemplating voter ID laws and other restrictive voting measures.
As was reported recently in The Washington Post, “News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.”
There are more cases of alleged alien abduction than in-person vote fraud. Yet the efforts that mostly Republican legislatures have led to combat this “problem” could result in millions of voters being disenfranchised. Most of the voters likely to be wrongly prevented from voting will be black and Hispanic. Gee, what a surprise.
Fortunately, California isn’t trying to suppress the vote. In fact, Gov. Jerry Brown just signed Assembly Bill 1436 into law that, by 2016, will allow Election Day registration. And last year, Brown signed a law that allows Californians to register to vote online. It just went live last week.
You don’t even have to get off your bum to register. Just go to: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm. It’s simple. You just follow the onscreen instructions. There’s even a Frequently Asked Questions section to answer any question you might have.
Circle Oct. 22 on your calendar, because it’s the last day you can register to vote in this election. Even if you don’t want to vote in this election, you should register. You may change your mind. The issues may persuade you.
Beyond you, I want to challenge you to register one of your friends to vote. I bet everyone has a nonregistered, nonvoting friend. These are people who say they’re not into politics or that voting does no good. Some folks are afraid if they register to vote, they’ll become eligible for jury duty. (If you drive, you’re already on the list!)
Smack them upside the head and let them know that people fought too hard for this right to blow it off. Sell your friends on the ease of voting. Let them know that most Californians vote by mail. Waiting in line at a polling place is so yesterday.
This is a presidential election so that should be a big selling point to your friends. Granted, there’s probably no bluer state than California but you can still let your voice be heard.
Beyond that, there are state measures on the ballot with a couple that involve new taxes. Why would anyone want to leave it up to their fellow Californians to determine whether or not they pay more in taxes?
Voters get to say “yea” or “nay” on capital punishment in California. Do we abolish it or continue?
Locally there’s Measure P, the 1 percent sales tax initiative. Its passage or failure will reshape Fairfield. Voters have the opportunity to decide if we will keep city services intact or drastically scale back.
Suisun City has two City Council seats on the ballot with two incumbents, Sam Derting and Mike Segala, vying for re-election against challenger Lori Wilson.
We can go in depth on these issues in the coming weeks, but the first step is to get registered and get your friends registered.
Voting is our right. Voting is when we realize that “the government” isn’t in Washington, Sacramento or downtown. The government is in our hands. Peace.
Kelvin Wade is an author/writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.