If you have an Instagram account or have logged into Facebook at least once in the past three weeks you’ve probably been slapped with a reminder or maybe even a direct order to vote. ‘Tis the season.
Historically, the United States voting population isn’t very engaged, typically hovering around 50 percent of eligible citizens actually exercising their freedom to do so. In the nation’s last general election, 138,847,000 ballots were cast of the 250,056,000 people old enough to do so. If you compare that number to countries such as Belgium, Turkey, and Sweden — all of which have seen upwards of 80 percent voter turnout this decade — you’ll understand just how “uninvolved” the typical American tends to be. And let’s not dive into how anemic those numbers are during non-presidential election years.
While communities like skateboarding and surfing are full of “keep politics out of this” types, the organization Skaters Vote sees the right to vote as a necessary step in maintaining the integrity of the ways we choose to play.
“From the national level to the local, governmental policy and politics impact our lives and love for skateboarding,” they say.
And this is logic, not hyperbole. Everything from access to public lands, how those places are maintained, the availability and presence of community spaces like skate parks, and even funding for programs that support them in our local communities are all directed by politics. How clean is the water at your local? Does your neighborhood have a safe and secure place where kids can skate, or do they need to ride busses into the next town for a session? Heck, how reliable and accessible is that public transit system? These all appear on ballots in one way or another, they are all discussed in city council meetings across America, and they all appear in letters penned to our senators.
If nothing else, we’d hope this encourages and empowers people to vote.