The voting public
The right to vote is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and several subsequent Amendments. Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution grants state legislators the governing authority to schedule the times, places, and manner of election for senators and representatives. Not until the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution is the right to vote defined more specifically. Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment affirms that states will lose their congressional representation "...when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime." Male inhabitants, at least 21 years of age, holding United States citizenship, were given voting rights. Later amendments to the Constitution expanded voting rights to include every United States Citizen.
Amendment 15 1870 Gave African American men the right to vote
Amendment 19 1920 Gave women the right to vote
Amendment 24 1954 Eliminated all poll taxes
Amendment 26 1971 Lowered the voting age in federal elections to 18
Many other federal and state have have been enacted to extend voting rights to our citizenry and insure their ability to exercise their rights. Voting is not mandatory in the United States. According to the Constitution of the United States voting is a right and a privilege of citizenship.
The population of the United States was approximately 323,100,000 citizens in 2016. In that Presidential election year approximately 258,056,000 were eligible to vote. The estimated vote count in the 2016 election was 138,847,000, roughly 55.7% of those with voting privileges that year. There is no national data base of registered voters. It is believed, however, that more than 200,000,000 citizens are actually registered to vote.
Do the math. The most significant voting matter in the United States is the vast number of citizens who do not vote. Among modern, civilized nations our voting record poor, far behind other developed democracies. And, 2016 was a Presidential election with usual higher turnout. In the 2014 mid-term only 36.4% made it to the polls. When asked why they don't typically vote, Americans answered in a variety of ways. Many Americans don't identify with the two major parties and are not driven to the polls by passion for the parties or their candidates. In the same way, many Americans are confused by the vast and varied registration processes in the states. In the United States election day is not usually a national holiday, meaning that many Americans cannot miss work to register their vote. Voting on Tuesdays is thought by some to be inconvenient when considering child care, schools, and work collisions. Then again, a group of potential voters just don't believe their vote actually counts. You know, the electoral college and all. And, yes, some voters have different valuations of time. To some voting is a waste.
You know, there's some strong Scriptural direction about being good citizens. No, these Scriptures have application in the ancient world and don't actually mention the United States. But, kids, truth is truth and fits every culture in every generation. Reflect on these verses when contemplating your privilege and right to vote---
Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint
them as your heads.
Deuteronomy 1: 13, ESV
Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom
belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets
up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have
Daniel 2: 21-22, ESV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good
understanding. His praise endures forever!
Psalm 111: 10, ESV
Hey, our founders believed voting was a right and a privilege. They also held to the strong belief in God's sovereignty in directing the work of us humans. We should all pray, and trust God in the casting of our votes. It's one voting matter that really matters.
We need to awaken the voting public. It matters.
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