From zero to over 67 million votes in 2004, the last century has seen a dramatic increase in the influence of women in an election. During the last presidential election, over 60 percent of women cast a ballot compared to just over 56 percent for men.
Your great grandmother might have joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony as they struggled to convince the men who ran the country to give women a voice in the legislative process.
If you did not vote in the last election, you disappointed these women who fought for your right to choose the men and women who hold public office. If you aren’t planning on voting in this year’s election, you should reconsider.
Your vote does matter. In 1850, California was admitted to the union by a one-vote margin and in 1859 Oregon was admitted under the same circumstances. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes became President when the U.S. House of Representatives determined the election because none of the presidential contenders had received a majority of the electoral votes. In 1941, the Selective Service Act (draft) was approved by a one-vote margin, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
If every professional driver felt his or her vote didn’t matter, there would be three million uncast votes that could sway an election. Your choice for both federal and state legislators directly affects your income and your quality of life. If you prefer to let others make that decision for you, don’t complain about the outcome!
Maybe you think it’s too much of a hassle to vote on November 6. You’re wrong. It’s a simple procedure to request an absentee ballot or vote in advance of Election Day. In the United States, you can vote early in 34 states, usually without providing a reason or excuse. In the last election, 22 percent of voters cast an early ballot for president.
If you prefer to vote by mail, you will be casing an absentee ballot. All fifty states allow absentee voting, although the conditions may vary. Some states will allow you to mail your ballot and others will allow you to bring it to the polling location before the election. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow absentee voting without providing a reason, and twenty-one additional states will allow you to vote as an absentee when you provide a reason.
Absentee ballot voting is only allowed for voters with United States mailing addresses. However, military and those traveling overseas can visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (www.fvap.gov) for assistance. Citizens will be asked to complete a post card application before receiving a ballot.
You not only have the right to vote, you should consider it your obligation to participate in the electoral process. Too many citizens neglect to make the effort to cast a ballot, although most people agree that voting is essential to good citizenship. Reasons vary, but a lack of interest shouldn’t be one of them.
If you haven’t voted in a while, or recently moved to a new area you might not know where your polling facility is located. The League of Women Voters has a site that allows you to enter your address and it gives you your election information (www.vote411.org).
We’re all tired of endless campaign ads, billboards, yard signs, and automated telephone calls. Your duty is to pay attention and listen and learn and make an educated decision to vote for the people whose values align with yours. Look at their campaign literature and visit their websites. Listen to an ad with discerning ears.
Be an educated voter. Participate in the election process and let your voice be heard amid the election noise around you. Remember, your vote does make a difference.
Women In Trucking Association, Inc.