Rock the Vote

September 24, 2016

 

We Must Rock the Vote in 2016!!!

rock-the-vote-1Today marks one month until the deadline for voter registration in California. That means that you have until October 24 to go register to vote in the 2016 Primary Election. If you were one of the 12,000 people born in 1998, then congratulations! This is the first year you are eligible to vote! Exciting? Daunting? Confusing? Well, that’s where awesome voting resources like Rock the Vote, Ballotpedia, Progressive Democrats of America, The People’s Report Card, and Vote Smart come in.

Rocking the Vote for 26 Years and Counting…

Back in 1990, certain music industry veterans decided that the right to vote wasn’t much of a right if you couldn’t figure out the how or didn’t know about the who when it came to actually voting. And so they began the largest nonprofit and nonpartisan organization to help youth get to the polls in the United States. Through pop culture, music, art, and technology, Rock the Vote has inspired political activity and made participation at the polls a mainstream, cross generational issue. Hey, it’s their, our, your, my country too!

Former president of Rock the Vote, Heather Smith, remembers one of the earliest PSAs from 1990, in which Madonna performed while wrapped in an American flag. In the ‘90s MTV was the one channel from which to speak to young people. Now there are hundreds of methods for communication, and so Rock the Vote has expanded and multiplied to increase messages that will make voting easier, simplifying and demystifying voter registration and elections.

We can’t get enough of this 2014 video which featured several celebrities who honed in on the issues that prompted them to show up and vote. Because it’s about more than just our president, you know, or even the governors and senators. As voters, we actually have a say on many officials who take office and initiatives that are passed in our state, county, and city.

“Guac the Vote”

Rock the Vote has witnessed a recent evolution/extension of its voter encouragement in the recent “Guac the Vote” movement. A Donald Trump supporter warned that if illegal immigration wasn’t checked, the country would end up with a “taco truck on every corner.” And in a true stroke of defiant brilliance, the left sprang up and sent #tacotruckoneverycorner across the internet as a delicious and practical reason to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Grassroots in action at its very best!

Local Progressive Politicians

rock-the-vote-3Did you know that 83% of Congress is up for election this year?

It’s easy to get carried away with the media focus on the presidential race, which is important. In addition to being our Commander-in-Chief for the next 4 years, this president will likely appoint TWO judges to the Supreme Court, the highest ruling power in our country, for lifetime appointments.

But Congress and the President must work together to get things done. The President can’t do it alone, no matter who they are. But despite Congress’ 11% approval rating, 96% of members are still reelected!

“It all comes down to turnout,” is a popular refrain when attempting to predict election outcomes. And research says that the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to vote. So what happens if every person, from every income bracket, has their say in the election? According to Jan Leighley, a professor of political science at American University, “When more people turn out, laws are more likely to reflect the needs of the majority and less likely to cater to a specific demographic.”

Aren’t you ready to see our leaders making decisions that benefit more people? Voting is the biggest way you can help make that happen. You don’t have to rely on tidbits picked up from the media. VoteSmart evaluates the positions and records of candidates for any office, including biographies, speeches, and funding. Ballotpedia gives an overview of everything that will be on the November 2016 ballot, and provides explanations of this year’s many propositions.

In California we are fortunate enough to be one of the most progressive states in the country, and this year we’ve been paying attention the records and promises of some of our local, progressive politicians. The People’s Report Card of California assesses legislators on a scale from 0-100 based on how well they stand up for constituents over corporations or special interest groups. Using 25 different criteria from the representative’s voting history, each is awarded a “courage score”.

Saturn encourages you to check out the records and passions of some of these modern day freedom fighters–in suits–around the greater Bay Area! Find out what district you’re in to see which representatives you can vote for.

Nancy Skinner – State Senate (District 9)

Bob Wieckowski – State Senate (District 10)

Bill Monning – State Senate (District 17)

Barbara Lee – State Assembly (District 13)  

Tony Thurmond – State Assembly (District 15)

David Chiu – State Assembly (District 17)

Phil Ting – State Assembly (District 19)

Mark Stone – State Assembly (District 29)

Ben Gould – Mayor of Berkeley

The President is far from the only one who makes decisions in our country, are you ready to have a say in all the other choices? Look into these candidates and decide if their positions align with your own. The choice is yours, the power is all yours! All you have to do is check that box.

Ballot Initiatives

rock-the-vote-2Wanna know what else is going on? Here’s what you could be weighing in on for real, rather just through “Likes” and “Shares”…

California Proposition 57, Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements

California Proposition 58, Non-English Languages Allowed in Public Education

California Proposition 59, Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory Question

California Proposition 60, Condoms in Pornographic Films

California Proposition 61, Drug Price Standards

California Proposition 62, Repeal of the Death Penalty

California Proposition 63, Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases…

California Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization

California Proposition 65, Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag Sales to Wildlife Conservation Fund

California Proposition 66, Death Penalty Procedures

California Proposition 67, Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum

With the prevalence of social media, you may already know a little of the backstory for some of these measures. If you don’t know all you want to about why these decisions will matter a great deal, then find out more. Are you ready to play a big part in this interesting election year?

Go VOTE!

rock-the-vote-4This past April, Michelle Obama gave the commencement speech at Jackson State University in Mississippi, speaking to graduates about the history of their Southern school and the challenges that many of the predominantly black students still face every day. She told a story about a girl who once asked her what she thought Dr. King would say about everything that’s still going on today.

“And I told her that none of us can really answer that question. But I said that Dr. King would probably answer it with a simple question –- and that is: “Did you vote? Did you vote?”

FLOTUS continued, “…what Dr. King understood was that one of the surest paths to progress here in America runs straight through the voting booth. That’s been the key to every single stride we have ever taken in this country –- from fighting discrimination to passing health care. It all starts with the ballot.

Obama appealed to graduates to aim for more than social media activism, and to get out and exercise their fundamental right to vote. “As you seek to develop your own strategies to address the problems that still plague our communities, I just ask you to remember that the power of voting is real and lasting. So you can hashtag all over Instagram and Twitter, but those social media movements will disappear faster than a Snapchat if you’re not also registered to vote, if you’re not also sending in your absentee ballot. If we fail to exercise our fundamental right to vote, then I guarantee that so much of the progress we fought for will be under threat.”

Voting is the most powerful way to make our voices heard. To be sure that the laws reflect the needs of the majority, and protects the rights of the minorities. Together, we can make sure that there is one candidate who never enters the Oval Office, and that the progress we have fought so hard for is not erased in any branch of government.

So get up and go find a post office or mail in this form.

Or grab some tacos with a side of real guac. Mmmmm.

Or–the easiest way of all–use this online voter registration tool, which, hey, Rock the Vote also made happen, to exercise your right to vote.

You can even check here if you aren’t sure if you’re already registered or not, and where.

And while we’re not saying that you should snap up any excuse to have a party (although that would be a fairly brilliant approach to life), how about inviting a few dozen of your closest friends over to watch the results come in? Celebrate democracy as you become a part of making sure it continues to happen, all while our great nation continues to grow and evolve.