Didn’t Vote? You are Ignored.

This story ponders whether 2006 will be the Year of the Latino Voter. Whether that becomes true or not will be evident on Election Day, 7 Nov 2006.

The most important part of the article is the following (my emphasis added):

Latinos are now the largest minority in America. However, due to historically low registration and voting rates, they are nowhere near as politically powerful as the African American community. Politicians feel free to ignore Latinos and their issues, because they don’t vote.

Why is voting important? Because if you do not vote, you are giving politicians explicit permission to ignore you and the things that you care about. Why would you give someone who you might want to pay attention to you a reason not to do so?

To those who feel that even if they do vote that they will be ignored, understand the voting is not an isolated act. [Responsible] people who claim that they don’t vote because it “doesn’t matter” do other things to create change within their communities. What they fail to realize is that responsible people that do vote also do other things to create change within their communities. This is not a one-or-the-other, mutually exclusive choice. If the goal is change, why not try to change things in as many ways as possible?

One Love. One II.



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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

2 responses to “Didn’t Vote? You are Ignored.”

  1. Anonymous says :

    This raises a larger question- why is it that Latinos and Blacks do not vote? Equally as interesting, why is it that people 18-25 dont seem to vote?

  2. Garlin II says :

    Anon, thanks for the great discussion questions. In the aftermath of this election, these are things that need to be addressed going forward into future elections.

    I want to address these in more detail in full-on posts dedicated to each question separately, but I will share my initial thoughts here.

    To me, there is one main reason why people don’t vote: they don’t think that it matters. They feel that the issues (e.g. ballot initiatives) don’t impact them; they feel like the representatives don’t actually represent them or their interests, etc. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy, and the challenge is communicating this to people who are unable to see that. We are trying to do that here on The SuperSpade.

    Another reason why people don’t vote is an issue of convenience coupled with not thinking that their vote will count. We have [effective] voter suppression campaigns to thank for this, as well as other stupid parts of the voting system, not to mention the fact that it is just straight up too d@mn complicated to vote in the first place. There are a couple of straightforward changes that can be made in my opinion to improve the process, which include, but are not limited to:

    1. Make voting free
    Very simple and eliminates any economic barriers.

    2. Make Election Day a National, Federal Holiday
    Close businesses, schools, and nearly everything else so that people can focus on voting that day. Many people say that they ‘did not have time to vote.’ The existing remedy for that is to vote absentee, but a lot of people either don’t know that they can do that, or choose not to, or forget. If Election Day was a holiday, everyone would definitely know what they were being asked to do on that day.

    3. Remove money from campaigns
    This will equalize not only candidates, but also their campaign tactics (then they won’t be able to fund ads that discourage voters). There have been attempts at this before, but we need to have it done sans loopholes.

    Like I said, I’ll have more on this later.

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