Our View: Get educated for Election DayJust about everyone is sure to have seen those little red circular “I voted” stickers that blossom on election days. These same people may be among those who have worn them briefly, after casting their ballots.
Just about everyone is sure to have seen those little red circular “I voted” stickers that blossom on election days. These same people may be among those who have worn them briefly, after casting their ballots.
And if the Minnesota Secretary of State office’s prediction is correct, more Minnesotans will be wearing them than ever before on Nov. 4, 2008.
Over the last several months, Sec. of State Mark Ritchie has been pushing his “80 in ‘08” campaign, an initiative to push Minnesota voter turnout on Election Day over the 80-percent mark. Four years ago, a little more than 77 percent of eligible voters showed up at local precincts across the state (the highest voter turnout in the nation).
Woodbury saw 79.4 percent turnout. The last time Minnesota saw a turnout of 80 percent was 1956.
This summer, volunteers for the “80 in ‘08” campaign were at the State Fair handing out “I WILL vote” stickers to folks who registered to vote.
The Secretary of State’s Office hasn’t been alone in its proactive efforts to “get out the vote.”
The state chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) recently boasted it registered more than 40,000 new voters in Minnesota. And in total it is estimated that more than 70,000 new Minnesota voters will be registered before the polls open next Tuesday.
On the surface, the recent collective GOTV efforts by the state government, community activist organizations, and even the McCain and Obama campaigns is deserving of applause. Or is it?
Is quantity better than quality? What good is a voter if they do not independently inform themselves?
When three million-plus Minnesotans step into the polling booth next Tuesday, will their knowledge of the candidates go beyond the respective presidential tickets? Will the voters have studied the positions of the candidates in the respective U.S. senate and congressional races? How about the state legislative candidates and county commissioner candidates? City council and judicial candidates? What about the Constitutional Amendment?
The hope is, yes, that if Minnesota does indeed break its own record for turnout on the upcoming election day, that it is with good and well-intended reasons.
It’s been said that next Tuesday may be the most important election in many lifetimes. If that is the case, let us see every one of our new voters go out of their way to use their right to its fullest extent. Study all the candidates, study all the issues.
Let us see veteran election day participants enter their respective polling booths with the poise to realize that their local elections matter just as much as, if not more than, who will occupy the Oval Office for the next four years.
Is quantity better than quality? We think not. Because in the end, it’s not turnout that matters as much as why people are turning out.
We encourage all voters (if they have not already done so) to get a sneak preview of what your ballot will look like on election day. Go to the “Polling Place Finder” on the Secretary of State’s website at http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/
Type in your address and then click on the links provided for a sample ballot and list of candidates. Then get informed.
The Secretary of State’s Office has a measurement for voter quantity.
The only measurement we have for voter quality is you.
Haven’t registered to vote? You still can.
Minnesota is one of nine states that allows same-day registration on Election Day.
Find your voting location and make sure you bring your most recent driver’s license and some additional proof of your current address (i.e. utility bill).
For more information, go to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office website at www.sos.state.mn.us and click “Frequently Asked Questions.”