To Vote or Not to Vote: is that really the question?

I voted this midterm but not without a few starts and stops. My wife Kathy and I decided that we wanted to be in line early at our voting precinct. When the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., I lamented my fate as I only had had 2 hours of sleep. My first thought was wtf?! Oh, yeah, voting today. I rolled over after turning off the clock and the first words out of my mouth to my wife, truth be told were, "we don't have to vote, it really won't matter." She says, "well I'm going." And that was the end of the discussion. Her parents taught her well; voting is fundamental.

The absurdity of my "won't matter" statement floated into my dreams as I sleepily remembered being upset the night before about folks twittering all day about voting, and that they should have been doing that 6 months ago, every one of them, myself included. As I returned to consciousness about 6 or so, it became clear that I really did want to vote. So I bum rushed my wife out the door as she gave me one of those "you-cant-be-serious" looks because she had been up for awhile and didn't expect me to wake up and vote.

She has a point there. I don't imagine I can count on more than one hand the number of votes she has missed, most caused by our moving from one state to another a few times. Given a chance to roost, she takes her democratic responsibility seriously. I, on the other hand, can count the number of times I have voted on one hand I suspect, maybe two but I'm leaning towards one. Seriously. I was one of those self-disenfranchised voters y'all be talking about. I suffered from apathy; what difference does it make? I felt deprived of power; marginalized.

They three-fifths compromised our bodies for
taxes and representation; by not getting
organized and voting freely, our minds are
locked within a slave's mentality; allowing
others who've mastered the vote to decide our future.

Whether my disenfranchisement was caused by time spent working incarceration with a hate for all things tinged with the man; or a lack of financial well being, being unemployed often not by choice usually put me in a negative frame of mind; or perhaps it was living a cut or two below where I deduced I/we should be living or maybe that blunt purple hazed my reality; perhaps just another logical fallacy or could it be, voting just didn't matter to me.

Now I can give you lots of mathematical statistical data that correlates with my a(pathetic)al mentality, that my vote did not matter, until I sparked within a few years back, a while before Mr. Barack Obama was running for the presidency; (although I was voting for Mrs Clinton because I thought she had a better chance of winning), that my vote really did matter, allow me to elucidate.

America is founded on one vote one voice. My vote counts for more than just another ballot in the box. My voting sets an example for my children, my friends, my peers and others that participating in the process is democracy in action. It is important that we keep exercising our right to vote. In local contests especially, a concerted effort can change outcomes of elections, we have all seen it done.

Almost 7% of the entire voting-age population is

disenfranchised due to a past felony conviction in

Virginia; most of the state's 20% African American

population is locked out of the voting booth.

From a historical perspective, scores of men, women and children have died trying to not only gain the right to vote, but to defend that right as well. Blacks and other disenfranchised groups have had to struggle for their fair share of the democratic process; the right to cast their ballot for the candidate, amendment, proposition, tax, et al. that all comes with being a member of these United States of America and subsidiaries.

I believe now that I have a duty to not only honor those before me, but after as well. I must continue to stand up and do whatever it takes to continue to cast my vote anyway I choose, not mattering for whom; just do it. To do so otherwise dishonors their hard work, their lives, and their memories.

My wife and I arrived at 6:25 a.m. and we were first in line. Well, since I dropped her off she was actually first but after I parked the car and she realized how long we had to wait, she went back and read her book in the car. So, I am first in line to vote, for the first time in my life.

In America about 13 percent of all African-American
men are disenfranchised. I'm tryin' to pull ya coat why do you think they keep trying to steal your right to vote?

"Doing what needs to be done," I reasoned, as I longed for my bed. About 10-15 minutes later others started to stroll up and after their double-takes seeing me at the head of the line, they assumed what is now SOP; playing on phones, Kindles, mp3 players, or just drank their coffee, silently. I decided then on writing this blog after after seeing their reactions. I covertly started taking a demographic assessment of my fellow constituents. I can only remember 30 but the rudimentary breakdown was 7 women and 23 men.

I hoped for other Blacks to show up to be a part of the process and let out a sign of relief when number 15 was a dapper, mature brother with a bluetooth in his ear. I silently high fived him for being here until I realized he may have been coming for decades, whilst I was new in this precinct and it was he silently high fiving me. Ok, I can go with that.

The Texas Secretary of State site has some misinformation on it. While it is true you have to register 30 days in advance of any election, you don't have to have your registration card with you. It is permanent unless you move and change precincts. Check your local laws and pass the information forward.

They go to the polls, like it's an elegant religion,
we lose our controls, with unintelligent decisions.

Did you know they have a Swearing-In ceremony for Election Officials on Election Morning? I didn't either. I watched the Election Judge do that. The polls opened at 7 a.m. and we went inside and lined up according to our last names; they only had 3 rows, thank heavens I was first. All of the Election Officials were White women except for 1 senior Black male who was an alternate Election Judge. 5 Election Officials and one main Election Judge makes 7 total. I asked one Election Official what I needed to be able to vote and she said I needed a voter registration card.

As I handed her my driver's license I was grateful that I had looked up the requirements the night before. I had discovered that all I needed to be able to vote was to have been registered for 30 days prior to the election, and just to show them something that proved who I was, albeit a driver's license or personal identification card, expired or not. It's important to know the rules of the game. Sometimes those in charge of the process willingly or unwillingly lead us astray.

In order to vote I also could have used any identification containing a photograph that established my identity; a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law; United States citizenship papers issued to me; a United States passport issued to me; official mail addressed to me from a governmental entity; a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows my name and address; or any other form of identification prescribed by the Secretary of State, all allow me to vote.

Trust me, I so wanted to give her a gas or

water bill but prudence dictated otherwise.

There were 6 electronic polling machines and one of them was broken, wouldn't you know it. I guess it wasn't important enough to plug them in and check a day or two before. Imagine this happening in larger communities and the resultant furor that would cause. Note: I will be contacting my local precinct and reporting this ridiculous development. Not exactly how one wants to run an election, I dont't think. This needs to change, no excuse.

My unofficial voter demographics of the first 30 or so participants of 23 men and 7 women included one each of Asian persuasion, three Black men and 1 woman, the rest were White. I must add that a sister was getting in line while we were leaving but not counted in the first 30.

After we exercised our constitutional right to cast our votes, my wife and I had breakfast out before she went to work. She told me she had a good time, I did too. Might have only been the second time we ever voted at the same time. Our voting turned into an outing where we shared time together. I am beginning to respect and understand better this privilege our forefathers, no, our forefathers, handed down to us. I realize most of the suffering and sacrificing that made it possible for me to be able to vote today.

As I continue to evolve my nascent conscience, I pass this on to you; don't sleep. Any registered voter in California may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on Election Day while in Texas the requirements are much more restrictive. Between early voting, absentee and vote-by-mail ballots, it becomes really easy to vote for some of you. As citizens, one vote one voice is our opportunity to have a say in the world around us.

By not voting you are simply playing yourself,
it's another way they use to distribute the wealth;
either you get some, or you get none.

In Texas, persons declared mentally incompetent and felons in prison or on probation are denied the right to vote. A convicted felon regains the right to vote after completing his or her sentence. Once the punishment phase has been completed (including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by the court), you would be eligible to register and vote within the state.

Wake up                                  that is all


SingleBlackFemale said...

Perhaps the African American apathy, towards voting, stems from the election that elected Lincoln. We where USED to elect someone on the premise they where responsible for our freedom.

Generationally, the responsibilty to vote intensified as we gained the Voting Rights Act while AA where being tested in the worst ways possible.

As AA began to be included more with passing of Affirmative Action, they felt "we won" and don't have to vote anymore, since our safety nets where in place.

We will NEVER see AA vote en masse, like our beloved 2008 election, however, it is more important than ever to continue to maintain our rights through exercising them.

Soulful1 said...

So many Dems out of office isnt because of T Party as much as it is a lack of voter participation. Some of these loses could have been avoided. Hopefully, after this election is analyzed, we can begin to understand just how important each and everyone of our votes is. Thank you for your comments.