SOCIAL MEDIA AND POLITICIANS RALLY TO ENCOURAGE VOTER TURNOUT

Hillary Clinton backstage with Jay Z and Beyoncé in Cleveland. Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Hillary Clinton backstage with Jay Z and Beyoncé in Cleveland. Doug Mills/The New York Times.

It has become tiresome to think, write, or complain about the upcoming election, but, it is tomorrow. For many, a fatigue or surge of apathy isn’t an option. Politicians, celebrities, and every last social media and news outlet are begging: please vote.

In recent statements and speeches, President Barack Obama has targeted different demographics with the underlying statement that voting means a lot to him and should be important to everyone. In his speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner, Obama stated:

“So if I hear anybody saying their vote does not matter, that it doesn’t matter who we elect—read up on your history. I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election. You want to give me a good sendoff? Go vote.” -President Barack Obama

On November 1st, at a Clinton campaign in Ohio just a week before the election, he spoke directly to the men by calling them out on their preconceived notions of women in power. Pointing out that there was a reason there hadn’t been a female president yet, men simply aren’t used to female bosses. The double standard of a female boss to male boss has been pointed out before, even in pop culture, and coming from the first black president, he has a leg to stand on about breaking ceilings.

This year the demographic that helped elect him is raising concern among Democrats. Early voting statistics indicate that black voter turnout is down about 15% from the 2012 election. Meanwhile white voter turnout is up the same amount. This is why Obama and the Democratic party have stepped up their urges, emphasizing issues on the line such as gender equality, education, immigration, and more.

Voting booths in New Hampshire. Image courtesy of Bloomberg/Getty. View original here: http://www.gettyimages.com/license/509162338
Voting booths in New Hampshire. Image courtesy of Bloomberg/Getty. 

Facebook has launched a successful non-partisan campaign in order to raise the rate of voter registration. By posting a reminder about voter registration, an opportunity to share your success in it, and an option to click “register now” and receive more information, the numbers of registered voters has spiked. 

While there is a circulating wealth of positivity that encourages voter registration there are also mounting claims that Trump and the Republican party are running voter suppression campaigns. The Democratic Party has officially filed multiple lawsuits against different GOP groups and states, accusing them of threatening and deterring minorities from voting. Without the Democratic support of some of these minority groups Trump could gain a close enough vote to win.

The voting system is ever changing in an effort to make sure that democracy is totally enacted. From the repeal of the poll tax to the push for ballots in other languages there is a constant push to make sure that all voices are heard. There are rally cries for people to stay outside the polls, making sure people safely get in and that exit polls aren’t biased in order to sway future voters.

The potential of violence in this election is something new to recent years. With Black Lives Matter protests in places like Baltimore to the recent Dakota Access Pipeline standoffs, shouts of riots and police brutality are making their way to the polling booths. But let’s be honest, Trump’s campaign is based off of the fear that America won’t be great without him, so why would voting measures be any different?

If there is anything we can learn from this election it is is that it is necessary to vote. According to Bernie Sanders and many others, there are no protest, third party, or write-in votes that count. With laws like Maine’s same day voter registration and easier than ever online registration in many states, there are no excuses left. In more words of President Barack Obama, “Don’t boo, vote.”

-Cassandra Gagnon for The Untitled Magazine.

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