"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." — Winston Churchill, on the floor of Parliament in November 1947.
Odds are, you know that there’s an election coming up (on Tuesday, November 6th, to be exact). The voter registration deadline for Kansas residents has passed, but being registered to vote is only part of the battle—actually voting is the other half. Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, voting—one of the foundational expressions of engaged citizenship—is essential to a healthy democracy. Throughout our nation’s fraught history, the battle to add or subtract categories of people from the pool of eligible voters has been fiercely waged because voting is power. If you are eligible to vote, and do not, you are leaving your power on the table.
If you are registered to vote in Douglas County, you’ve got options. Want to vote while lounging at home in your pajamas? Request that an advance ballot be mailed to you (Go here to request a ballot; you have until Tuesday, October 30th to request an advance ballot, and ballots returned to the County Clerk’s Office by mail must be postmarked on or before November 6th). Not sure whether you’ll be too busy to get to your polling place on Election Day, or just antsy to get the job done? Advance voting has already begun! You can vote in person at the County Clerk’s Office during business hours anytime between now and noon on November 5th, or at any of these other places and times. Love the excitement of voting on Election Day? Find your polling place, and be there between 7am and 7pm on November 6th. (For the lucky voters of Precinct 2, the Lawrence Public Library is your polling place!) Want to see what’s on your ballot before you get to the polls? You can preview sample ballots here.
Thinking about sitting the whole thing out? Then I encourage you to revisit the struggles of the past, and consider what role the right to vote will play in the democracy of the future. Here are a few titles to get you thinking about the the past, present, and future of the right to vote.
—Melissa Fisher Isaacs is the Information Services Coordinator at the Lawrence Public Library.