Happy National Voter Registration Day
by Jessica Schieder, 9/25/2014
Happy National Voter Registration Day from the Center for Effective Government!
Only about 40 percent of Americans vote in midterm elections – those that are in between presidential election years. This means each vote matters even more. Americans who show up to vote on November 4th, or mail in absentee ballots, will have their voices heard. This year, there’s no shortage of reasons to get out and vote.
Elections should be decided by voters, not by those who stay home, so here are our top four reasons your country needs you to vote this November 4th:
1. Americans want to work. There are still 9.6 million Americans looking for work who can’t find jobs. Three million of these folks have been looking for work for six months or more.
The ability to work and support a family is a crucial pillar of the American dream. When a breadwinner can’t find work, families don’t eat, working class families can’t send their kids to college, mortgages are not paid, and communities suffer. Vote for elected representatives who share your concerns about unemployment. We need real job creation – the kind that puts Americans back to work, not the kind that gives corporations money for sending jobs overseas.
2. Giving wasteful and ineffective tax breaks to corporations is irresponsible. Taxpayers want to see that money reinvested in schools, roads, and the American people.
A polarized debate is going on right now in Congress over tax breaks for corporations. The Senate has passed a bill that rubber stamps an extension of many wasteful corporate tax breaks for two more years. The House has passed a bill to make these same measures permanent – casting these wasteful measures into stone forever and costing American taxpayers more than $500 billion over the next 10 years.
Americans can see that there’s less money being invested in schools, that our nation’s infrastructure is in desperate need of a facelift, and the underwhelming economic recovery still hasn’t led employers to raise wages for the vast majority of people. At a time when some in Congress are telling people that our government can’t afford to make smart investments, many of the same politicians are still pushing for wasteful corporate tax giveaways. We need elected officials willing to make investments that benefit people and their communities, not corporate campaign donors.
3. Americans should be paid fairly for their hard work.
A number of policies, behind which a vast majority of Americans have rallied, have stalled in Congress. Despite the fact that seven in 10 Americans support raising the minimum wage, bills to raise the wage to $10.10 have been stuck in the House and the Senate. Despite the fact that 65 percent of Americans believe women should be paid equally for equal work, the Paycheck Fairness Act is at a standstill and unlikely to be passed by either house this session. Additionally, more than three-quarters of Americans believe that it’s fair to grant workers paid sick leave. Without legislation like the Healthy Families Act, falling ill or leaving work to pick up a sick child from school will continue to jeopardize workers’ jobs.
4. The safeguards that protect our health, safety, and environment are under attack.
The push to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline, efforts to block limits on greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and lobbying to promote fracking are all widely reported. These efforts by big businesses and their anti-regulatory allies in Congress need to be continually checked to ensure we are protecting our nation’s natural resources for future generations. Of equal concern are better veiled and lesser known attacks on key components of our country’s process for designing and implementing public protections. Repeated attempts to sabotage the regulatory process and delay important rules from moving forward could significantly increase the risks faced by Americans in their daily lives. Without strong and fully enforced public protections, preventable incidents like the recent chemical disasters in Texas and West Virginia could happen again. Instead of seeking to bog down the rulemaking process, Congress should provide agencies with the necessary resources to protect our health, safety, and environment from unnecessary harms.
Now that you’re fired up, register to vote! And on November 4th, turn out to vote for elected officials who understand the challenges your family and community are facing.
Our friends at Mom’s Rising have set up a special landing page to help you register to vote. Online voter registration is allowed in many states. In states where online registration is unavailable, this page will tell you what you need to do to make sure your voice is heard in November.
For Further Reading:
House Majority’s Last-Ditch Effort to Undermine Public Protections, Award Corporate Giveaways, The Fine Print blog, Sept. 15, 2014
"Flexibility" for Whom? Irregular Schedules, Other Practices Wreak Havoc on Workers, The Fine Print blog, Aug. 19, 2014
Unemployment Insurance: A 79-Year Old Promise to American Workers That Needs Renewing, The Fine Print blog, Aug. 14, 2014