by Jeretha McKinley, National Program Director for HealthConnect One
Last year, a group of advocates and non-profits joined forces to register people all over the country to vote, and HealthConnect One was one of them. This year, we are participating again, and National Voter Registration Day is coming right up: September 24, 2013, which compels me to share.
If you know me, you know I’d much rather talk with you face-to-face, or by phone – one-on-one – NOT out here on the world wide web. BUT THIS MATTERS, and I thought maybe – possibly – I’d connect with SOME people better here. Online. So here goes.
Why do I care if you register?
- Are you angry because your federal funding got cut? (I am!)
We have power as registered voters. If you lobby on Capitol Hill, if you meet with legislators in your home district or you respond to Advocacy Alerts, you can say, “I am a registered voter in your district AND I VOTE.” Legislators are people, too. They want to keep their jobs. To keep your vote, they need to listen to you. It matters, because you matter.
- People tell me they live in districts where their votes don’t count.
Registering to vote allows you to be counted as a resident. This matters because the number of people in each district impacts government decisions about where the money goes, including how much goes to your community. This includes money for unemployment, SNAP, WIC, breastfeeding peer counselors, community-based doulas, and other community health workers. Your elected officials also decide on who can vote, when and where voting happens or not. If you’re not registered, your opinion is not counted or considered.
- After George Zimmerman was found “not guilty” in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, many parents like me realized that if my child was murdered, I’d want justice decided by a jury that included people like me.
Registering to vote makes us eligible to serve on a jury. Members of each jury are pulled from a pool of registered voters. I can advocate for people who look like my son, my daughter – I can be a champion for my community.
“I am a registered voter AND I VOTE.” It matters.
It matters for your community
It matters for your program.
It matters for your family.
It matters to me.