“Are you registered to vote?” I ask every passer-by at public gatherings as I offer a voter registration form. “Yes, indeed,” I often hear, “People died for my right to vote.”
2018 is another important election year and after early voting started Tuesday, April 10, we're again hearing “Your vote matters” and “Your vote is your voice.” But if that’s true, why do we not feel heard? Why do we feel, despite recent close elections, that our vote doesn't count?
There's good reason that we feel powerless and unheard.
We are powerless. If you are a Democrat or “people over party” voter in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District, you were disenfranchised in 2016. Gerrymandering (drawing Congressional district lines to favor the Republican Party) has been in force since 2011 and an “impostor” Democrat won the Democratic primary because his generic name has fooled voters for three elections.
And we are not heard. In OH-2 (running from northern and eastern Hamilton County across eight counties to Portsmouth and Chillicothe), the establishment Washington representative is ignoring us. He prioritizes his wealthy and special interest donors over We the People. He specializes in remote-control governing using taxpayer-funded brochures regularly mailed to us and highly scripted tele-townhalls where our chance for raising controversial issues is nil. A large venue everyone-invited Town Hall? Not a chance since 2013.
How can your vote count? How can you be heard?
Although you have missed the chance to update your voter registration for the Ohio Primary, get ready for the November 6 General Election at http://www.turbovote.org. You can also receive election reminders by text or email and request a vote-by-mail application.
Research your candidates, watching closely for long-term involvement in your community or your issues. Visit www.vote411.org to research and make your personalized ballot. Choose public servants who have a track record as private citizens. In the OH-2 race, notice that there is no citation for William R. Smith. A political faction in Pike County has been using his common name to dupe voters into giving the incumbent a phantom opponent and a free pass to re-election.
Continue your research by visiting candidate websites or attending candidate forums. Please visit us at http://drjanetforcongress.com and https://youtu.be/1JsERAA5h8g
Avoid pre-primary endorsement lists. You've done your research and made your own candidate list.
Research Issue 1, the Fair Districts initiative. Your “yes” vote is key to curb gerrymandering for future fairness.
Grab your personal voting list and head to your county Board of Elections during the early voting period, April 10-May 7. Check the hours carefully: They become longer and include the last weekend as the May 8 primary approaches.
Consider a vote-by-mail ballot using www.turbovote.org. If Primary Day approaches and you haven't mailed it, just drop it in the dropbox at your county Board of Elections by May 8.
Your last chance to vote in the May 8 Primary is at your polling location. Don't forget your ID and your personal voting list.
Elections have consequences. By choosing candidates with a track record of listening and by voting for fair district boundaries, you will be heard.
Dr. Janet Everhard, Democratic candidate for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District, has cared for the health of women in the district since 1989. She is a resident of the historic river village of New Richmond in Clermont County.