This is the moment 57% of America has been waiting for! I say 57%, because that's the percentage of eligible voters who voted in the last presidential election. And it's the highest since the 1960s. The last mid-term election turnout was 38%. ...Yep...
Why is voter turnout so low? As a teacher, I'm wondering if we're doing a bad job of teaching civic responsibility to our students in general. I mean, we all understand responsibility - and I understand that people are busy, they don't care, they want to avoid conflict, they're not registered or didn't research the candidates... but what does that say about our nation? I think it says we have better things to do than care. (By the way, that list was compiled from some of the reasons students gave.)
Really, if we want a government of the people, the people have to partake in that government.
We discussed Australia's compulsory voting laws. I'm not saying that we should force people to vote, or that we should try to force people to care - but there has to be a way to engage all of our citizens.
I asked the students if they thought we should make voting mandatory in the United States. Overwhelmingly, they said no. They said it would take away our freedom. You know, I think I agree with them. But isn't that the way of all laws? You give a little freedom to gain the greater freedom? We can't shout "fire" in a theater, because it might cause a stampede - injuring or killing others - which would take away their freedom. We've given the government a lot more power under the Patriot Act in order to ensure our freedom and safety from the attacks on others.
We also voted today. It went really well. Students registered a couple weeks ago. Today, if they didn't have their school ID, they were turned away. I think we're going to find out who won at the end of the day.
Finally, here are a couple videos for you to watch if you want. One explains the electoral college. The other one explains... well... it doesn't explain anything. It's just a song.
(Students, if you want the extra credit, read and discuss the blog with an adult. When you're done write 3 sentences from the discussion on a piece of paper and have the adult sign the paper. Turn it in tomorrow.)
And the other one: