Many Americans today are headed out to vote. If you’re with them, nice! Thanks for performing your civic duty, participating in our republic and standing up for the issues you care about. If you’re not with them, think about doing that—your vote matters—and if you see someone who’s not with them, encourage them to participate in a way that doesn’t shame them.
This midterm-election season, you’ve seen all kinds of campaigns designed to encourage you to vote. Most of those campaigns are well-intentioned, but some of them are taking on slants that are actually discouraging potential voters, according to the Washington Post. These “vote-shaming” campaigns are actually turning people off from civic participation, and it could have an effect on tonight’s results.
For example, voters in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County received a letter in the mail labeled “Pennsylvania State Voter Report” that showed them whether they had voted in the past three elections. Furthermore, the letter also told them if their neighbors had.
Voters in New York and New Jersey received letters detailing elections they missed in the past, and the North Carolina Republican Party sent out a mailer last week reminding recipients their voting history is public record and be viewed by anyone. One voter, Kelly Ducker, a registered Republican in NC, said the mailer discouraged her from voting along her party lines.
Other campaigns have been texting voters with urgent messages related to the election without their consent. These strategies, implemented by Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke in Texas and some Florida politicians. Critics have not only called the messages invasive and accusatory, but an attack on their privacy.
What can you do? Don’t stoke the flames. Encourage the people in your life to vote, but don’t attack them if they have excuses or end up missing the polls. More important, vote yourself. Find people in your building or office who are willing to come with you. But VOTE. It’s the day! Your decision matters!