Friday, September 26, 2008

Ask the Question

Do you know anyone who might not be registered to vote? Don't assume too easily. My best friend told me AFTER the primaries this spring that she has never voted. She's never even registered to vote. I had no idea, because we'd never discussed it before.

After I calmed down and we talked, my friend promised me that she'd register in her new county of residence. So, to hold her to her word, I found the voter registration form for her county online and e-mailed it to her. All she has to do is print it, fill it out, and mail it in, postage-paid.

That got me thinking. Who else could I reach out to? I texted my lil' cousin who's in college to see if her absentee thing was going OK. She just sent off her absentee ballot request on time - which is great, because she's a resident of a swing state.

But my proudest moment in recent days was getting my cousin's son, who is seventeen years old, but will be eighteen on Election Day, to fill out a voter registration form. I took it to his house and watched as he filled it out. I put it in the mailbox myself. He chose to register as an Independent, but he said, without any prompting from me or his mother, that he is voting for Barack Obama. Getting him to register was a coup for me, because although his mother is registered, she doesn't vote and is proud of it. She did vote once - for Hillary in the primary, and now since her candidate is out, she says she won't be voting in November. (Don't get me started on how bad a role model she is for her kids on citizenship.) Her son was reluctant to fill out the form because of her influence, but she told him to register, because she didn't want to hear my mouth. Thank goodness for my big mouth! He promised me that he will vote on Election Day, and I'm going to make sure he has a photo ID and voter registration card before that day.

Take some time and ask among the friends, family members, church members, mentees - hey, even co-workers - and see if they're registered in their residence. They might not be, especially if they've recently moved, or if they're a young adult (or seventeen-year-old October/early November baby). I bet we can be more influential on people we know than strangers with clipboards can be! And once you get them registered, take responsibility for them and make sure they follow up and get to the polls.

Each one, reach one.