Importance of Exercising Your Right to Vote

As a citizen you have an obligation to vote.

If everyone votes would America unite?
Knowing each vote is a light in the night.
Would commenters have less need to “spin”
Reasons why voters decided who will win?

If everyone voted, would leaders do more?
And listen to voters like never before?
If everyone voted would the hungry be fed?
Would the homeless have shelter, each child his own bed?

Our vote is our voice that can’t be dismissed
It’s a shout and a prayer, our heart and our fist.
Our vote is our right, that makes our land great.
It’s a duty and joy; our privilege, our fate.

 

Let’s look at the most recent election for two governors.  Did citizens exercise their right to vote?

 

Look at the two pie charts.  What are the largest pieces?  The purple pieces are the registered voters who did NOT exercise their right to vote or voted for something other than the three identified candidates.  And this was considered a “large turnout”!

The lesson of November 7, 2017 should be that fewer than half of all registered voters voted.  Why?  What does that mean? Would their votes have been similar to those who did vote?

A great numeric civics exercise would be to consider how different possibilities of additional voters could have changed the outcome.  Chart those possibilities and see how important everyone’s vote is.

Other issues to discuss and investigate include the following:

  1.  What are the types of data systems used to determine the total number of registered voters?
  2. How could weather affect the number of citizens who exercise their right to vote?
  3. What procedures do voting locations use to know that the voter is registered to vote?
  4. Why do so few citizens actually exercise their right to vote?

 

New Jersey registered voters as of 11/7/17: 5,754,862
Source: http://www.nj.gov/state/elections/2017-results/2017-11-07-voter-registration-by-congressional-district.pdf
New Jersey Gubernatorial results Source:http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/11/live_election_results_nj_governor_2017.html
Murphy, Philip Dem 1,119,516 55%
Guadagno, Kim GOP 858,735 43%
Genovese, Gina Ind 11,131 1%

Commonwealth of Virginia 5,489,530 registered voters as of 10/31/2017: http://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2017%20November%20General/Site/Statewide.html
Virginia Gubernatorial Race results
Source: http://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2017%20November%20General/Site/Statewide.html
Ralph S. Northam
Democratic 1,405,007 53.87%
Edward W. “Ed” Gillespie
Republican 1,172,533 44.96%
Clifford D. Hyra
Libertarian 29,303 1.12%