Recently, I saw this note on a friend’s Instagram feed:
“Dear Facebook and Instagram, I am registered to vote! I will vote in the poll center. I have voted every election sense (sic) I was 18. Please stop asking me to vote!! At the very least give us responsable (sic) people a button that we can say we are registered!!”
She wasn’t alone in making her post, and she received many supportive comments. I’m wondering why it was necessary to respond to an advertisement.
I, too, have received a Facebook ad reminding me to register to vote, though I’ve been a registered and active voter for more than 30 years. It’s one of many ads in my feed. It comes up every time I log in, along with ads for socks and other products related to my recent online searches.
I never feel the need to tell Bombas™ that I already own socks, I know where to shop for socks, and I’d like a button to tell them I’ve got all the socks I need. I just keep scrolling.
So, why is a reminder to register to vote – and by extension, a reminder to actually vote – such a divisive topic requiring a snarky reply?
Typically, people say they didn’t vote because “my vote wouldn’t have counted anyway,” but sometimes the answer is “I didn’t know how to vote while I’m away at school” or “I’m not sure where my polling place is located.” This year there are added concerns about a lack of health safety measures at local polling places and conflicting information about the advisability of mail-in ballots.
Has it really become politically divisive to recognize that some people may not have easy access or know how to register to vote? Is voter registration really a partisan issue?
The first time I voted after I got married, an election judge who was a member of my church tried to stop me because my registration was still in my maiden name. I had been married six months and hadn’t updated my registration. Fortunately – and I was required to provide proof of this – I also hadn’t legally changed my name on my driver’s license or social security card either. The judge had a problem with the “progressive” idea that I might not take my husband’s name, but she had to let me vote.
During the 2016 general election, there were more than 224 million people eligible to vote in this country. Only 64 percent of those adults were registered to vote; a mere 56 percent actually voted. All party affiliations aside, just over half the eligible voters in this country made a decision we all have to live with. Shouldn’t this concern us?
Voting is one of the most patriotic actions we can take as a citizen. Under reauthorization of the Higher Education Amendments, Danville Area Community College must make a “good faith” effort to inform Degree seeking students of voter registration information in order to receive Title IV funding. We list a number of ways for students to register to vote, including links to both Indiana’s and Illinois’ registration sites, on our website. I’m very happy that social media platforms are encouraging voter registration. I welcome them to the effort.