As you might know, there’s an election this coming week. There is much angst on all sides, and of course, a few days ahead of it, we can’t predict the future.
In the midst of the fundraising, campaigning, and speeches, one of the most complicated questions is: Why do some people not vote? We could examine voter laws, so different state by state, opine on the psychological barriers to voting among different generations, and even delve into the issue of how people physically get to a voting booth. Is it outright discrimination? Is it education? Is it transportation? Is it apathy? Maybe all of these things. The possibilities are dizzying.
That’s why it was so inspiring this week to talk with Carol Anderson, the author of One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy. While she wrote a book on the subject, she has a surprisingly concise list of solutions that just make it easier for each of us to vote.
If Anderson was in charge, she would re-institute a Voter Rights Act. It would include registering people when they get driver’s licenses, same-day registration, and a new emphasis on civic education. She points to California, which pre-registers 16-and 17-year olds and Oregon, which has an automatic voter registration. It can be done, she says. But people need to keep working to make sure no voice is silenced, she says.
“What would be great is if those who say they believe in democracy act like they believe in democracy,” Anderson says.