When the United States was founded, the only people who were assured the right to vote were men of at least 21 years of age who owned sufficient property that they depended on no one else for their income. A tiny number of New Jersey women had the vote under the same terms until 1807, and some free African-Americans who fit the property and age restrictions got to vote. Even white male laborers couldn’t vote when this country was founded. How everyone else got the right to vote is a long story that I’ll cut short here; suffice it to say that people fought and died to be able to vote, with the last big changes not coming about until the 1960s and early 1970s.
Why then do only 40% of voters show up for midterm elections? I don’t have a good answer, but I do know that not voting is dangerous to the future of our country. If you aren’t registered to vote, honor the election tomorrow by getting registered. If you are registered, show up at the polls. Take a neighbor or friend who might otherwise not vote. I voted early because I can’t be at the polls tomorrow. This year of all years I personally felt what so many pundits are calling an “enthusiasm gap,” but I did my civic duty. I hope you do too.
Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader