Voting has always been important to me.
In 1984, my daughter was born 10 days early, just before Election Day. I was not prepared to let childbirth stop me from persuading my reluctant husband to drive me from the hospital to the polls. “I feel great,” I lied.
It is a sad fact that many people do not vote in our elections. Only 37 percent of eligible voters turned out for the 2014 midterms, and even the recent overheated presidential election only brought out 60.2 percent of eligible voters. An astonishing seven million people who voted for Obama in 2012 stayed home in 2016.
And yet, there are a growing number of people in the world who don’t get a vote at all or who are expected to vote in sham elections. And we see more shaky democracies surrendering to autocrats whose first moves are to stifle dissent and end free elections.
There are many reasons people in this country don’t vote. They may not like any of the candidates. They may feel it’s pointless, because they live in a gerrymandered district or non-battleground state. Possibly, they are discouraged by voter ID laws.
But, by not voting, people are ceding power to those who do. They are giving up a hard-won right that no one should take for granted.
Back in 1984, my candidate Walter Mondale was whipped by Ronald Reagan. But at least my vote was part of the conversation.
I’m Deborah Booth, and that’s my perspective.