November 3, 2020, is a very important date in the United States: It’s Election Day. All across the country, Americans will cast their votes to help decide who will run our government. In a democracy, we get to pick who’s in charge.
Voting is one of the most basic and essential rights citizens possess, but it hasn’t always been available to everyone. When the U.S. was founded, only white male property owners could vote.
Many women won the right to vote in 1920 — 100 years ago — when the states approved the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Many Black Americans were barred from voting in some states until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In fact, activists around the country are still fighting today against rules that restrict voting or make it more difficult.
Voting eligibility varies from state to state. Vermont makes it very accessible. All U.S. citizens ages 18 and older who live in Vermont can vote here. There are no exceptions.
And yet, it’s a sad fact that many Vermont voters simply don’t participate in elections. There are lots of reasons why: They might say they’re too busy, or they don’t know enough about the issues or candidates, or they don’t pay attention to politics. Some people don’t think their vote matters.
But maybe they just need a little encouragement. That’s why this month’s Good Citizen Challenge is to make a creative and colorful poster that will motivate adults to vote. We’ll print the most persuasive poster in Seven Days’ General Election Voters’ Guide, and we’ll use eye-catching entries in print and online to help boost voter participation.
We’ll be printing the guide at the end of September. Why so early? Because this year, many voters will be casting their ballots by mail in the weeks leading up to the election, due to concerns about spreading COVID-19.