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by Paul Bass | Sep 24, 2013 2:38 pm
A 48-year-old man named William Burr resisted entreaties to register to vote as he walked by City Hall Tuesday. Meanwhile, the state’s top elections official dropped by to offer a prize to high-school students who can convince the most new voters to join the rolls.
That was the scene near the Amistad “Make Us Free” statue outside City Hall.
It was “National Voter Registration Day.”
Two good-government groups, Connecticut Common Cause and New Haven Votes, set up a table where passers-by could register in time for the Nov. 5 general election. (They planned to man the table until 4 p.m. After that you can go to the Registrar of Voters Office at 200 Orange St. to register.)
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill stopped by to lend a hand along with Mayor John DeStefano. Standing with the hard-working women from the city’s registrar’s office, they made a pitch about the importance of registering to vote and then voting, especially in local elections. (Click on the play arrow to watch their pitch.)
“Register to vote, and then get out to vote. Elect people who reflect your passions, your visions, and your goals for your family. Make a difference. It’s simple. It’s easy,” DeStefano declared. “And the registrars here are very nice.”
“Sometimes It’s most important to vote in your local elections,” where issues ranging from road-paving to public education are at stake, Merrill said. “That’s where you can really make a difference ... It’s the place you can get involved the most easily.”
Then Merrill announced a new statewide contest: Her office is challenging teams of high-school students to register new voters by Oct. 31. (Click here for details on the contest.) The team that signs up the most voters wins an “AMA”—an “ask me anything” session with herself and U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal.
Will the kids have the option of choosing a different prize? she was asked.
No can do, Merrill replied. By law, “you can’t give anything of value to someone to register to vote.”
Does that mean a sit-down with her and Blumenthal has no value?
She clarified: the prize has “no financial value. We hope it’s of value.”
After the remarks, Connecticut Common Cause Executive Director Cheri Quickmire stopped passersby to encourage them to register to vote. She and city Republican Registrar of Voters Delores Knight pitched William Burr (pictured in top photo).
Burr, who’s 48, said he wasn’t sure he can register; he’s a felon. They asked if he has completed parole and probation. Yes, he said. That means you can register, they said.
Maybe later, he said, and he kept walking.
Down the block Burr confessed he sees no reason to vote.
“Every time you vote for somebody, they say they’re going to make this change or that change. Everything stays the same. No one changes nothing. Taxes are the same,” Burr said. “It’s like you’re voting for nothing. Everybody promises the same thing. Nobody delivers on their promises.”
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The real reason that political candidates make promises that they can’t keep is because we (the voters) force them to. We refuse to support the candidates who tell us the truth, because the truth is not what we want to hear. Americans love lies. We love to be lied to by our political candidates, but not by our political leaders - as if we can have one lie and not the other.
When present and future candidates see what happens to past candidates who spoke hard truths to the electorate, viz. they didn’t “win”, they stay away from those truths and focus on telling us what we want to hear so that we will vote from them and that they can “win”.
After they “win”, inevitably they can’t keep the “promises” we (the electorate) forced them to make. We, in turn, get angry and frustrated AT THEM. We should, however, be angry at ourselves, for we got the elected “leaders” (really obsequious followers with titles)that we fought for.
Congratulations Voting Public: You’ve won a spineless politician with little (if any) core values and little character who is willing to tell you exactly what you want to hear, even when they KNOW they can’t deliver, JUST AS YOU ORDERED.
We should all register and vote for the candidate(s) with the principles and values with which we agree, even if they are not the most popular or the “front-runner”.
There are some fights worth losing.
@Samuel T. Ross-Lee:
As someone who was on the right side of truth and the wrong side of getting relected, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The Two Party System Must go. A growing segment of the U.S. population is not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.
“Who should I vote for?”
Actual quote of someone approaching the Harp table on primary day.
Maybe democracy should have an entry fee; like showing some small clue about what’s going on in the world.