Voting in Utah
As this year's election season is winding down, many of us are hopeful that the rancor, divisiveness, and fear mongering surrounding it will give way to a more hopeful and optimistic future. The endless stream of political ads, email solicitations, and phone calls are exhausting as well, making it seem attractive to just unplug everything and go into a news black-out.
But what cannot be lost in this or any other election year is the great privilege and responsibility we have as Americans to be fully informed voters. As a woman coming of age in the 70's when the women's movement was dominating the news, I gave little thought to the right to vote. But at that point, women had only had that right for fifty years. The suffragist movement we learned about in American History class showed women in long skirts holding signs and marching down Fifth Avenue, but what we didn't necessarily learn about were the hunger strikes, beatings, and jail time women endured just to give their daughters and granddaughters this fundamental right.
Likewise, the Civil Rights movement of the 60's required incredible sacrifice on the part of its activists and saw even greater atrocities committed against those fighting for equal protection. Martin Luther King was assassinated. Civil rights hero Edgar Medgars was murdered in his own driveway. Three social workers were abducted and murdered in Mississippi by the KKK because of their civil rights advocacy. The list can go on and on. These are tragic times in our history, but the heroism of those fighting to ensure all citizens have the right to vote is more than inspiring. It is hopeful. We are a nation of people constantly working to be better. More united. More compassionate. More just.
So yes, the debates are often irritating instead of informative. The ads can be outrageously misleading. The volume and tone of political campaigns can seem punishing instead of productive. But all that is required of us is to find credible, unbiased information about the candidates, once every four years in a presidential election year. And then vote. We do have systems in place for free and fair elections unlike anywhere in the world, including this year. We can mail in our ballot, put it in an official ballot box, or heck, go directly to the polls. There is no reason for your voice not to be heard. The hysteria around voter fraud is just that.
Answers to questions about how and where to vote can be found at vote.utah.gov