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The Significance of Voter Education


            Around certain times of year (this is one of them) and when tragedies or situations occur that go against the grain of what various groups of people believe, voices are united in saying, “This is why we need to vote,” or “Your vote matters.” The aforementioned statements are both true, and it is important for us to remember that voting and the education of voters is important all 365 days of the year. It is not just enough that we vote, but that we are educated in our vote.

            According to the United States Election Assistance Commission, voter education is defined as,

“...the act of providing voters with basic information about the voting process and elections. Voter education materials can be delivered through events, websites, mailings, and advertising. Some topics covered by voter education materials include how to register to vote, viewing a sample ballot, or providing information about accessible voting.”

Why is educating voters important?

  • Process – Voter education matters because voting for the first time, or even from one cycle to the next, can be challenging or even daunting for some, if procedural steps are uncertain. We educate others and need to be educated ourselves regarding voting in order to know the steps required, which will help to ensure as seamless of a process as possible.
  • Polls – Knowing the polls in the area, the hours of operation at the poll one will vote at, early voting specifics, and what to expect when arriving at the polls (process) can help to alleviate stress and ensure clarity.
  • Politics – Voter education pertaining to the communication of current issues ahead of Election Day gives those who will be headed to the polls time to process and reflect on where they are mentally, culturally, societally, personally, etc., with certain voting matters. Being educated on the issues at hand helps voters to cast their ballots responsibly, instead of blindly picking a response at the polls.
  • People – Sometimes voting takes place around specific issues. Much of the time, we are also voting to elect officials who will deal with the issues on behalf of the general public, whether at the local, state, or federal level. It is necessary for a portion of voter education to consider and deal with the teaching of what those who are running stand for. Knowing the platform of those offering themselves and being aware of professional and political histories are key elements in voting.
  • Past – Awareness of how far suffrage (for women and Black & Brown people in particular) has come should help us all to remember why it is vital for us to show up at the polls. Voter education does not only speak to where we are currently and/or where we are headed, but from whence we have come.
  • Power – Power here is used as a synonym for rights. Educating voters is significant because voters need to know the power they have in voting rights. Late Civil Rights Activist & Politician John Lewis once said, “The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it.”

Let us strive to exercise both our individual & collective power and constitutional right to vote at the polls and bring others along with us. As we are signing up to pass out pamphlets, make phone calls, canvas neighborhoods, teach workshops, work at polls, and read up on candidates + voting issues, may we be reminded of the significance of voter education.

Voter Education, Politics


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