Read your ballot, Louisiana

Intense get-out-the-vote momentum is growing for November third, the day we Americans will cast our votes and “claim” who we want to serve as our 46th president.

For first time voters, the day has more significance than many media are reporting since many states have multiple races on their ballots. In Louisiana, each vote will critically impact city councils, judgeships, and the state constitution.

First time voters will make a difference. But, do they understand that? And will they read the ballot?

Since Louisiana elections are plurality vote elections where majority rules (51% or more), then, every vote of ours will select mayors, city council leaders, district attorneys, and judges in November. Each and every vote will also impact the changes to seven state Constitutional amendments and millage renewals in certain areas.

Organizations like the Baker-Zachary Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, and PAR Louisiana have released voter info and are hosting forums to help voters understand amendments.

Here’s an experiment: Pick a number between 1 and 7

As an experiment, members of our team picked a number between one and seven for a corresponding Constitutional amendment.

We pulled the sample ballot along with the Secretary of State’s explanation. We read each amendment aloud, researched any term that was unclear, and decided how each of our households would be impacted.

The “abortion rights” amendment and the amendment to change income requirements for homestead exemption were easy decisions. The other amendments required more research. Frustration with the language on the ballot increased. “It seems deceitful,” one argued. They researched more and increasingly became frustrated with verbiage and the process of digging and clarifying the law/policy in order to decide on a yes or no vote.

Nonetheless, the point had been made: How we vote is critical–immediately– and it is far more than just a vote for any old candidate.

If consistent voters felt this frustrated and defensive on parts of the amendments, what would first time voters feel? Do they even know these amendments are on the ballot? Where are the commercials about these?  Who’ll read all this before they vote? What if they decide to skip the amendments and just cast their one vote for the president?

If they do, majority will still win. And that majority may not think in our best interest. That majority may not be an ally.

Truth is, voters have to get to the polls, allies have to get in the booth and choose to vote for OR against the clear and present dangers that we face. They and we have to vote for the absolute benefit of us now and for generations to come. The impact of every vote this election is long term and intense. What we choose is frightfully a matter of life or death: biologically and financially.

Louisiana voters, go study your ballot.ºℜ