Waiting on the World to Change

Since my junior year of high school I have felt a great passion for social change in the United States. Learning about the subtle ways that oppression can manifest itself through microaggressions has generated my desire to make an impact on the harmful social structures we have in our society. A major way to make change and have my voice heard was to head to the polls and vote vote vote! Just telling people to vote seems so easy, but the actual process of registering can be quite difficult. As an American civil duty, registering to vote should be easy to access and a well explained process. In select states you are able to register online, and in others you must print it out and mail it in. These forms of registration are in itself suppressive because they assume that all Americans have access to technology or they are able to easily print a form to mail. Ways in which the government makes it harder for everyone to get the chance to vote is called voter suppression. 

Voter suppression is carried out indirectly through ways you can register to hours that the polls can stay open. In my experience, I recently voted early and the polling location had inconvenient hours between nine to four. Although six hours may seem like plenty of time, this is during the common work day for a large portion of Americans. This is a form of voter suppression because without flexible times outside of the work day, Americans will have to either lose time for work or lose the chance to vote. The nine to five work shift as we know it is predominantly for jobs of middle and lower class citizens. Voter suppression ultimately targets those who are lower in socioeconomic status and this includes intersectionality of race, gender, and even sexual orientation. Of course these are not the only ways that voters can be suppressed. Other examples include voter purging, voter ID laws, and felon disenfranchisement. Although there are many ways in which voter suppression happens, there are possible solutions to these issues. Automatically registering Americans to vote in every state would eliminate the inaccessible voting registration process, and proved to be successful in Oregon. Making voting day a national holiday would allow many new working voters to participate. There are ways to solve this issue, we just need to raise awareness of the existence of voter suppression and its implications. 

Voting is a great right that Americans have, but the difficulty of pursuing this right hinders many Americans from voicing their opinions. There  are so many other ways to have your voice heard such as leading clubs at your school, attending major marches, and even posting on social media. No matter what, find a way to make your voice be heard and then maybe we will make a change.