Fresh Ideas: I won’t tell women how to vote, but…
“For the work of the day, for the taxes we pay, for the laws we obey, we want something to say.” —1913 women’s suffrage postcard
Ever since women won the right to vote in 1920, they have grown into a diverse and much sought after coalition. Why? Because, according to Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics, women have consistently out-voted men in every presidential election since 1980. Yes, millennial women and their grandmothers vote.
Inexplicably, conservative pundits and politicians continue to disrespect women. They belittle us, patronize us, shame us. They characterize us as “Beyoncé voters” or “feminazis.” They blame us for rapes and limit our healthcare choices. Worse yet, they ignore us.
You see, for women, politics is personal. Polls show women care more about healthcare (including their own reproductive health) and economic inequality than men do.
Take economic inequality, for example. When 40 percent of households with children have female breadwinners and nearly half of those women are single or divorced, income inequality is not abstract. It’s real. Still, women make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men and Senate Republicans — again, inexplicably — continue to block the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Given their common concerns, single women are understandably reliable Democratic supporters. However, they are not always reliable voters. Their voting rate (along with men’s, by the way) drops as much as 20 percent in non-presidential elections, like 2014. Single women work all the time, sometimes at more than one low-paying job. They take care of their families, run households, and go to school. Voting, registering to vote, or updating their registration gets pushed off in light of more urgent demands.
Luckily, there’s an app for that. Or at least a website. It’s easier than ever to register to vote or update voter information at https://nvsos.gov/. Carson City voters may also call 887-2087 or stop by the Election Office at the Courthouse at 885 E. Musser. However, you must do so before Oct. 14.
I won’t tell you how to vote. You’re smart. You can figure out which party and candidate respects you, listens to you, and trusts you to make personal decisions. Even if you’re not sure about every item on the ballot. You don’t have to decide on each issue to have your vote count. And with Carson City’s new, state-of-the-art electronic poll-books, the whole process takes only minutes.
I think your grandmother would agree. Some things you just have to do yourself. Voting is one of them.
Lorie Schaefer is retired, mostly. She reminds Carson City voters that early voting takes place at the Courthouse on Saturdays, Oct. 18 and Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday-Friday, Oct. 20-24 and Oct. 27-31 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Courthouse. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Community Center. Don’t forget to bring your sample ballot!