Voting: How to Turn a Person into a Voter

You don’t need me to remind you how horrific a week it’s been. I’m doing my best to find something hopeful as the U. S. elections near.

I was heartened by this New York Times editorial on the efforts of the Black Voters Matter Fund in Alabama, How to Turn a Person into a Voter.

It’s about talking to people. Helping them see that something they care about, something that affect them personally is at stake. Letting the local people take the lead—especially the women. And singing the anthems of the freedom movement. “Eyes on the Prize” is a favorite.

Voter registration isn’t a usual subject for fiction, but I wrote about it in Let Me Fly, as the heroine Rachel accompanies her old friend Charlie Mannheim, now the candidate for the constitutional convention of 1867, to Floyd County to persuade former slaves to vote.

The two canvassers find the local people who can spread the word like wildfire, and on Sunday, they attend the local church, where Rachel speaks her piece. “Voting, it’s about freedom. Do you want good work, and to be paid fair for it? Do you want to live in dignity? Do you want your young’uns to get schooling? We vote for a fair chance. An equal chance.”

True in 1867, and in 1964, and even truer today. Please, turn yourself into a voter, and if you know anyone who is disinterested or wavering, do the same for them.