By Lynn Buske, JONAH Organizer
I recently asked my Facebook friends why they vote or not vote, and I could see immediately how necessary talking about voting is – here are some of the opinions I received:
“Why do you vote?”
“Because I’m a citizen, and [voting] and pay taxes are the only things I actually have a responsibility to do.”
“I owe it to the women who fought hard to earn women the right to vote!”
“Before I was elected, I always said I couldn’t complain unless I tried to change it (in other words vote!) and I like to be able to speak my mind.”
“I vote because it matters. People who do not vote do not have a voice in the direction of our towns, cities, counties, state, or country.”
“…The right to vote is too sacred and important and costly a right to not exercise it. I also feel that if I don’t participate then I don’t have a right to complain, and [choosing not to vote is] actually agreement to the narrative of cynicism and defeat that the bad guys want you to follow.”
“I vote in order to hold people accountable.”
“If you choose not to exercise your responsibility to vote, you have no right to complain afterwards.”
“I do vote but don’t know why anymore, government has become so elitist and so disconnected from reality. People vote but nothing changes except more people hurting and more politicians making more money and doing less.”
In conversations I’ve had, this later opinion is the most common reason I’ve heard for people not voting. But it is a place of tension, and thus an opportunity for growth! Holding conversations about what is important to us is at the core of what JONAH does and when we can do that around voting we can make a huge impact on our community!
David Liners, Director of WISDOM, recently shared this message to affiliates: “There are very important elections coming in the next year! It is REALLY important that everyone in Wisconsin votes in 2020. We all tend to listen better to messages like “Hey! It’s really important for you to vote!” when they come from people we trust.”
All of this leads to JONAH’s asking YOU to participate in voter engagement and invites YOU to join the Relational Voter Program (RVP) as an RVP Leader!
RVP is a way for family and friends to engage collectively in democracy. And it’s pretty simple. You use the MyRVP app on your smart phone (sorry, can’t use a computer here) to make a list of friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives, or other people you know and who are eligible to vote. They show up right away on the app and you just choose those with whom you want to communicate. If you don’t have a smart phone you can also submit a written list of contacts to me, our Organizer.
About once a month, WISDOM will send you a message in the app. The message will suggest a topic to reach out to your list about (for example, ask if they are registered to vote and know where their polling place is). Right from the app, you can reach out to the people on your list via call, text, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp.
As an RVP Leader, you can easily engage with and educate your friends and loved ones about issues that matter, and how important it is for all of us to vote, using the communications methods you already use to keep in touch. And the people on your list will only hear from you – they won’t get any direct messages from WISDOM or anyone else.
This is all about the impact of personal relationships and communication! If you are willing to download this app and talk to your friends and family about voting – contact me right away! Leaders will receive a small stipend from grants funds.
Additionally, JONAH will build relationships in the community around voting in 2020 by canvassing, educational materials, training, and other collaborative efforts.
Want to help? Contact us! If you have questions about voting, how your issues show up in the elections, or want to share your thoughts/concerns please reach out to me!
Lynn Buske, firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-497-8732