What’s Worse - Voter Apathy or Voter Suppression?
By Viola Davis RN BSN
There has been much discussion of the issue of voter suppression. While reading an article on the Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, the article stated that voter suppression was the major issue discussed with panelist such as political strategist Donna Brazile, activist and MSNBC TV host Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga). The National Urban League also claimed the voter suppression issue was one of their top priorities.
I was fascinated that voter suppression took priority over jobs. I debated the issue with my family members focusing first on the issue of voter suppression then voter apathy. I asked my family members, what’s worse - voter apathy or voter suppression?
I refused to debate whether voter suppression should take priority over the issue of jobs because jobs should be our top priority period. With us in the middle of a recession (some say a depression), we are focusing on voter suppression. It’s hard to believe. Well, let’s first look at the definition of voter suppression and voter apathy:
- Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising their right to vote. Voter suppression attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against the candidate or proposition advocated by the suppressors.
- Voter apathy is perceived apathy (lack of caring) among voters in an election. Voter apathy is often cited as a cause of low turnout among eligible voters.
My brother said that voter apathy is more dangerous than voter suppression because the suppressors can’t succeed with passing laws to “suppress” the vote without apathy. However, my mother said voter suppression was worst because changing the laws will stop the people from voting regardless if the people come out of their apathy. I must admit both opinions are good. I personally said apathy in agreement with my brother. One need only to look at the number of active voters compared to registered voter to realize what we are talking about.
According to the 2012 primaries in DeKalb County, approximately 127,311 of 405,103 registered voters cast a ballot for a percentage of 31.43%. This leaves over 68% (over 277,000 voters) of the electorate engaging in a personal act of “self imposed” neglect to exercise their right to vote.
Why should we care? In the state of Georgia, the difference between the vote of Barack Obama and John McCain was 204,792 votes. In the Georgia gubernatorial election of 2010, Governor Nathan Deal beat challenger Roy Barnes by 258,821 votes. More people stayed home in DeKalb County and refused to exercise their right to vote then the number of votes for the Republican candidate to beat the Democratic candidate. Do you see the power of the vote?
Let’s face some uncomfortable truths. Apathy is probably the greatest gift the public gives willingly to those who strive to control and suppress the vote. It cost no money to implement and the rewards are many in the name of passing laws the suppressors are advocating. If you are unemployed or have a family members or friends that are unemployed, you need to vote. Your vote will decide what laws and policies will pass in the upcoming years.
- Veterans’ job bill blocked: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57517160/senate-gop-blocks-veterans-jobs-bill/
- American Job Act: http://www.americanjobsact.com/
What’s your opinion? Is voter apathy worse then voter suppression?
Ruby Bozeman Davis, Co-Founder of the Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter, assisted with this article. Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter is a watchdog group and community ministry which focuses on anything that adversely affects taxpayers and voters.