(Or, Let’s Vote–Even if you live abroad!)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock on Ganymede,* you are probably already worn out from the continuous coverage of the US presidential campaign. Are you planning to vote? Awesome! Here’s a quick post on the importance of voting (even if you won’t be in the US this November).
Voting allows citizens to express their voice in the government and shape the future. Unfortunately, many people don’t participate in the democratic process. The Bipartisan Policy Center reported that less than 60% of US citizens voted in the 2012 presidential election. For the past 240 years, Americans have fought and championed for their right to vote…and we have come a long way! Some cases in point–there are women alive that are older than their right to vote. Many minorities have also struggled against oppressive voting laws. In 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act to counter racial voting laws (check out an example of a “literacy” test here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/06/28/voting_rights_and_the_supreme_court_the_impossible_literacy_test_louisiana.html).
The first time I was able to vote for the federal election was 2012. I was living in South America at the time, so I mailed in my ballot! This year, I will be in Canada. Even if you won’t be in US, voting is a relatively simple process. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website (www.fvap.gov) to get started and learn about your state’s voting requirements!
- Are you registered to vote? Each state has slightly different requirements and deadlines. If you aren’t registered, there’s a chance that you can register online (see the National Conference of State Legislatures http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/electronic-or-online-voter-registration.aspx#Table%20of%20states%20w/ovr)
- Know the last four digits of you SSN and have your driver’s license ready
- You will need access to a printer
It’s really that simple!
This year I am a teaching assistant for a course on science writing, philosophy, and communication. During the first class, the students reflect on the interface of science and society. Science does not exist in a vacuum. Research funding, health policy, natural resource management, even the very questions researchers develop are influenced by society. Take some time to learn each candidate’s position on scientific issues, November is coming!
Happy voting 🙂
White House Historical Association
President Theodore Roosevelt at Yosemite National Park. During his presidency, this conservationist leader helped establish five national parks and 150 national forests!
*one of Jupiter’s multiple moons, discovered by Galileo, only moon that we know has a magnetic field, larger than the planet Mercury, AKA a pretty cool moon! You would also be very cool if you were living in Ganymede (http://theplanets.org/ganymede/)