Women and Voting

Not voting and not having one’s vote properly counted are two of the most important ways of being silenced (Hornsby, Langton, Maitra, McGowan) that there could be. This is true of both women and men, as has been far too amply demonstrated recently. But, according to this fascinating AlterNet article, there may be causes of such silencing particular to women that are worth looking at. These reasons provide excellent examples of the ways that various issues interact, including language, race, domestic violence, disability and childcare:

-Women may not realise that they need to re-register if they change their names upon marriage.
-Asian women are often neglected in voter registration drives.
-Women fleeing domestic violence may not want to appear on publicly accessible voter rolls.
-Women with children may not be able to get the babysitting that would enable them to wait in line to vote.
-Women are especially likely to be elderly, disabled, and in assisted living, and vulnerable to someone “helping” with their ballot in ways that they wouldn’t actually approve of.

If we want to get both women and men voting in the sorts of numbers that might make us feel like we’ve got a democracy, we need to pay attention to factors like these. We also need to pay attention to factors specific to men, who vote in even lower numbers.

3 thoughts on “Women and Voting

  1. In IL last year a new law went into effect making it legal to bring a minor into the voting booth with you. That came to a shock to me because ever since I had my daughter (4yo) we’ve been bringing her to vote. I even have a photo of her “voting” in 2004.

    So yes! Hell yes! We need to pay attn to many factors.

    Campaigns should have drop-off child care for up to 1 hour for voting purposes. Longer if the poll lines are huge. But one hour should be enough most of the time.

  2. Really good idea about drop-off childcare. Is anyone doing this? Unbelievable law about bringing minors in. I still remember how exciting it was going to voting booths with my parents, and how excited it made me about being able to vote– I think it’s a great civics lesson, and it made me the vote nerd I am today. Which is good. Except when obsessing about elections takes over my entire brain for years on end.

  3. Most of the time, my kids have been with me – they’ve even been given special “ballots” and “I Voted” stickers.

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