Parish Government

Take a Step, Make a Change – Meghan M, Tanner P, Shahrukh L, Erin D

In Action on November 5, 2010 at 4:24 pm

To make a change, you must first understand why a change is needed. The problem is that most of the younger eligible voters in America choose not to vote. What is the solution to this problem? The answer is for everyone to vote. The group’s political action project has been meaningful and impactful because we challenged the minds of those we questioned, the group impacted the people that were questioned, and the people that were questioned pledged to spread the word to vote which will cause a domino effect. We tried to make an impact and we did by making a video and asking for those we talked to, to pledge to spread the word.

For each of the people we talked to, we asked them to answer questions about the country that citizens should know. In all of the government classes, everyone took the citizenship quiz. A lot of people came to find out that as citizens they did not know as much, if they did not study, as people studying for the actual citizenship test to become a new citizen of the United States. The group decided to ask questions that may be on the citizenship test. As the questions were asked, people struggled with different questions. The one everyone struggled with was the first question. No one seemed to get the first question that was asked which was, The House of Representatives has how many voting members? Since people, even teachers, did not know the answer, it resulted in guessing different numbers. In general, some of the citizenship questions were hard to answer and some were answered correctly by at least most of the people questioned.

The whole purpose of this project was to impact people. The group’s saying was, “Take a Step, Make a Change.” The group wanted to change the perspective of the people on United States Politics for the better. By informing people about the problems of voting turnouts today, the group is helping solve the problem for tomorrow. We told the people we questioned different facts letting them know how their vote could make a difference by stating different facts from past voting percentages, such as the 2008 nation’s eligible voting turnout which was only 61.6%. This was shocking to them. What also shocked them was the 2000 Presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore. George Bush won Florida which was the deciding factor in the 2000 Presidential Election. For everyone that heard how much the vote in this state counted, they were surprised. They learned that one vote could count. George Bush won by only 1%. This could mean we could have had a different President. If at least 400 more people voted, Al Gore would have one the popular vote. That is not a lot of people. This showed people that their vote really does count in circumstances just like the Florida Presidential Election. This was what shocked people the most and made them think about how they should vote.

At the end of the video, we asked everyone to pledge to spread the word to vote. Everyone pledged to spread the word. This will cause a domino effect. Since each pledged to vote, they will spread it to at least one person they will know, and this may influence them to vote and they may spread it, and so on. If this happens, this may cause more people to vote, at least in the Dallas area. Youtube is used by many people all over the world. As more people come to watch it in the United States, the more people become influenced throughout the United States instead of being inside the boundaries of the downtown area. This project can be ongoing instead of having an ending date. The movie may have ended, but now let the word spread.

The way the group tried to impact people and spread the word about the problem of young eligible Americans not voting was by a video. We not only made it and interviewed different people, but the group also put it on youtube for people to see. The group decided to put it on youtube so that the impact would not just stay within the boundaries of the people we told and the people they told, but throughout the United States. There may be a problem, but for every problem, there should be an answer to fix it. Some take a long time, and one small group may not be able to impact people to vote all over the United States, but a group can certainly try.

  1. I really liked the idea of this project and think that it hit an important issue that america faces. It was smart and interesting how you not only interviewed people who fall into the young adult category but also spread out and looked to adults to see how informed they were. I think that you did a really good job on the video. I think that establishing why voters dont vote and how they are uninformed is improteant so people can really understand why it needs to change. I think people will be shocked at how many people dont know about their own country and (as they answer the questions in their head) see how little they too know about America. I think if this video is showed to alot of people and all over the place that it will make an impact on how people think of their knowledge and on voting. Good Job Guys!

    • Thanks for the comment about our idea of the video. I think that the video helped since we did different age groups, and it really opened the eyes of the people we asked. It is shocking that many American citizens don’t know a lot about their own country. I think it was also good that we pledged to spread the word. Thank you for writing your comments from a viewers perspective.

    • Thanks Kendall! Yes we choose to interview lots of people from various ranges of ages because we wanted to inform everybody we could glad you could see that.

  2. Hey guys! Great job. Question: Do you think abstaining from voting is as powerful as voting? i.e., a vote of no-confidence in government or candidates? Just curious to hear your response!

    • Hey Mr. Hampshire, thanks for your comment! Thats a great question! I would think that they are equally as powerful, because if a group of people don’t vote it has the same impact on whatever election it might be as a group of people voting for a certain candidate would be. I think this true because either way you look at it there would be a huge chunk added or taken away from a candidates’ vote turnout which could have a significant impact on the election because it could possibly be the difference between a candidate winning or losing, which are both very meaningful outcomes. Thanks again!

  3. Great Job you guys! I really feel like you guys worked together well, laying out the problem with voter turnout and trying to find a solution for the problem. Notifying people about there lack of intelligence about our country was a great way to impact voters in the dallas area and hopefully spreading throughout America! A youtube video is a great way to spread your opinion, thousands of people get on youtube and I think that that can cause a great turnout! I definitely agree with Mr. Hampshire though, although not as many citizens vote as we would like, are you saying that the numbers are what is most important in the voting process? do we want people to vote who are not informed in the current affairs? The citizen test asks questions about you, as a citizen, but does not necessarily ask questions about the current affairs in our country? Just things to think about! Yall did a great job though and I really think yall got to the core goal of the project!

  4. Good job guys! this is really good and i think it made a diffrence. By seeing the video I felt more motivated to vote. I think that this was a good way to make people vote and make them feel like they should vote.

  5. As with any issue, education is key. Great job in educating the public about why a vote matters. The next step is getting voters to the polls to actually cast the vote. How do we make the voting poll places more accessible, easier to vote? Lines are long people work long days….Good for you to begin the first step and educate everyone about the importance to vote.

    • Hey Mrs. Lyon thanks for your interest in our political project! We tried hard to informing the public about voting and by informing different ages we tried to spread the word in a broader area hoping that the word can spread faster. I agree with you on how we need to get voters to actually go to their polling place and to cast their vote, and now that the people are more informed they can understand how important it is to vote so hopefully that can effect the outcome of how many people choose to go to the voting place and vote. Thanks a bunch Mrs. Lyon!

  6. And also to answer your question, I believe that to make the voting places more accessible they need to be set in even more public places or at least places that the community as a whole know where it is which can allow people to go vote their more because it is a place that they all know well!

  7. Fabulous job Parish Episcopal students! I think a big part of the challenge is to feel like you are an “informed” voter. In California, I always received a sample ballot with a synopsis of the law we were voting for and candidate statements. It was easy to feel like I had some information at my disposal because it was delivered to my home. In Texas, we don’t have that. We have to read the paper or go on-line and find out about our candidates and laws because no one is going to hand us that information. We have to be pro-active in making ourselves informed voters…but that takes effort. Can or will our the young people of our nation make that effort?

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