Human Rights and Voting

TWAICB Director Sandy Sohcot says:

At the Voting Booth, Thomas, theocean, Creative Commons

At the Voting Booth. Photo: Thomas, theocean, Creative Commons

I see the UDHR as a powerful framework to compel thinking and action on current social, economic and political issues. As I take in the news, I reflect on the UDHR articles, individually and as a whole, and how the rights they define are being honored or disrespected in local, national and international arenas, and what could be done to address issues of concern.

With the 2016 Presidential campaign now gaining greater attention, I am focusing on an issue that has been of great concern to me for many years – voting. To me, voting is the essence of participatory democracy, where individual voices can have an impact at every level, from policy setting to leadership, locally and nationally. If people don’t vote, their voices are not “registered.”

Article 21 of the UDHR says, “1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his/her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. 2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. 3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

Numerous news articles discuss two issues of great concern to me relative to voting in the U.S. – Access to the right to vote, and low voter turnout. Below are starting points of commentary and information about these concerns. Thanks for following these via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. I’d like to know your thoughts on:

  • Why is voting an essential human right?
  • Why is voter turnout so low in the U.S.?
  • What are actions we can take locally to ensure everyone’s access to their right to vote?

In the last midterm elections we had one of the lowest voter turnouts of all time; just 36.4% of the eligible voting population showed up at the polls.  The vibrancy and strength of our democracy are directly related to the number of us who show up to vote!  America consistently ranks low in comparison to other nations when it comes to healthy voter turnout.  Click on the link below to access more information on this topic.

http://www.fairvote.org/research-and-analysis/voter-turnout/

Are you registered to vote?  If not, here are some easy ways to register right away.

http://www.headcount.org/registertovote/http://www.rockthevote.com

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