Voting isn't easy. Our government used to make this painfully obvious. Without overt Jim Crow laws and poll taxes, today's voting obstacle course is just painfully suspicious, wherever you hang your chad. Harping upon a certain "F"-ing state from 2000 isn't exactly breaking news here. But, well, it's "F"-ing important to remember.
The power of one vote should be a mighty force, and perhaps this is precisely why registering to vote is more convenient for some and less for others. Financially stable homeowners with stable addresses, for example, may not find reregistering an impediment to voting. Career renters or homeless people will encounter re-registration again and again in order to get their votes counted. Until voter registration centers start popping up at every Texaco selling lottery tickets, ensuring that all adult citizens have the paperwork pushed so they can vote should remain a pressing issue especially for minorities, the poor, and the young.
God bless the Internet. "A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit initiative to educate and energize a new movement of young adults to vote in the 2004 election," Declare Yourself, founded by producer Norman Lear, mingles youth-savvy media and entertainment heavies to expand the 18-29 age group registrants. DeclareYourself.com provides all-inclusive voter registration and election information, including printable voter registration forms for all states, absentee ballot forms, polling place locating, updated election news, and candidate profiles.
Declare Yourself's backing by Clear Channel, among other sponsors, may invite wariness, but a campaign this glitzy needs money if it's going to work. Already in virtual cahoots with Friendster and Google, it has magnified its Web campaign by enlisting entertainers for an 18-city live spoken-word performance tour through March and a televised "get out the vote" concert this summer. "Let's Go Voting," a comedy short film starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, is the campaign-proclaimed centerpiece of the program, which Drew Barrymore helped launch last November.