Writer’s Name: S.F. Hardy
Title: Read to Vote: Vote to Read
On Friday October 26, 2012, it was stated in BET’s special: Second Coming, a two part series highlighting President Obama’s presidency, his current campaign and people’s outlook on his performance that in 2008, for the first time in history the number of African-Americans exercising their right to vote was comparable to that of white Americans. The presidential election of 2012 is just as important, if not more crucial - not only because we are to elect the leader of the free world but, because there is so much a stake in local governments that will impact citizens directly.
After attending several informationals and debate parties relevant to the presidential and local election in less than two weeks away, it has become clearer and clearer to many individuals the importance of reading as an adult citizen living in a democracy. It is our duty as citizens to vote but this task is difficult to complete when one cannot or refuses to read.
Detroit’s ballot alone is four pages long filled with 18 proposals, some more intense than others. While many people think they will be taking the easy way out by voting a straight ticket, saving themselves the time of reading the ballot, they could really be putting themselves, as well as their fellow citizens in grave jeopardy as it relates to day-to-day life. Voting is our time to let our voices be heard, but we cannot effectively make an informed decision if we don’t take the time to read and study what is being put before us.
I have had some but not many of my peers ask me about the proposals and where to find them before visiting the polls, while others seem to be very nonchalant as if they don’t realize what is at stake here. After the elections when we begin to feel the raft or benefit from what was in fact voted in, will not be the time to complain. Before we head out to the polls, we should all be encouraged to read the proposals that we will be faced with on November 6, 2012. Not only will it save us some time at the polls but it will serve to makes us informed decision makers as we make our selection on our ballots.
Reading is not a punishment it is a skill as well as a blessing! After this election, we could possibly lose many liberties we have become accustomed to. After all, something as simple as reading we take for granted has not always been allowed, particularly for Black people and the poor. Yes, the political jargon can be very boring and complex to read, but this is why I am persistent in encouraging people in my community as well as outside of my direct community to know before they go to the polls so that the agony and pain of reading is lessoned. If you know someone who has a difficult time reading, cannot see well or is just plain illiterate, encourage them to get educated on what to expect before going to the polls on Tuesday. In most cases the ballot and proposals can be viewed prior to Election Day. Read it to them and yes, you may have to accompany them to the polls. It is a small price to pay considering that we are all in this together as we all will be affected if we don’t all exercise the right to vote.