Recently, the local League of Women Voters and two staffers from the Registrar of Voters Office, accepted an invitation from a government teacher at San Lorenzo High School to motivate students about the importance of voting and to conduct a mock election.
Although it wasn't "your grandma's high school classroom" the students were attentive and seemed to get that when they cast a vote in a primary or general election, they are the "deciders." They were told that decisions they made at the ballot box could be decisions that would impact their community and them personally.
We asked the students to tell us why they thought some people don't vote. Non-voters don't know what the issues are, they may be scared of the process, can't get to the polls, didn't register to vote ahead of time, not a citizen, don't care or "too busy" were the replies -- all valid and all "curable."
Slaves didn't get the right to vote until 1870. Women didn't get the right to vote until 1920. To get that right, many men and women sacrified much, some even were beaten and killed to ensure that their descendants got the right to vote. People are still protesting and sacrificing their lives in many other countries in the world today -- for the right to vote and control their lives.
The least we can do is pay attention to the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot in June and November 2012, go to candidate or issue forums, read and listen to the wealth of information that is out there, discuss issues with a respected friend or go to the League's SmartVoter.org for unbiased information on issues.
Then when the time comes, vote as if demoracy depended on it -- because it does.