Oznia, a blog of Israel things


~Voter Registration Drives by noshimon
April 7, 2008, 1:12 am
Filed under: opinion | Tags:

The right to vote is in theory an American citizen’s ability to change his government and affect his society. Regardless of whether or not this holds true in practice, the voter registration drive can be a powerful tool in encouraging political participation and Israel advocacy.
Of the eligible voting population only about 60% are registered. This percentage decreases as the as the surveyed group becomes younger. Coincidentally, that younger group is the same one that will populate college campuses and be the target audience of your Advocacy activities.
Registering to vote is relatively simple. All it involves is finding the actual registration form online, printing it, filling it out and sending it to your local registration office. All the necessary information can be found through the use of Internet search engines. Registration offices can also be contacted to send quantities of voter registration forms by mail. As for the actual drive itself, it should be conducted in a central location so that a crowd forms. Evidently the logistics are not especially complicated. Just make sure that there are plenty of pencils, forms, and volunteers to allow everyone who stops by to quickly fill out a form.

Holding a voter registration drive, even without other goals, is admirable. By enabling
people to participate in our government the democracy that we live in is perpetuated and strengthened. It is a public service that only benefits and empowers the common citizen. However, the social effects of this event can gain new elements if it is blended with Israel advocacy.
There are several ways of advocating for Israel through this medium. One is to have a petition supporting Israel broadly or specific legislation, to be sent to the official of your choice. This is fairly easy and effective, for after guiding someone through the process of being able to vote, they won’t refuse another signature unless they are staunchly anti-Israel, and a petition with a letter that includes the fact that all signatures just got the ability to vote, will make much more of an impression.
It is important to remember that after you provide people with this service they will be far more inclined to pay attention to anything else you have to say. Therefore, other methods you could use might be scattering pro-Israel pamphlets about your tables and encouraging the new voters to pick them up and read them. These pamphlets also may be in support of your current elected officials or challengers if their policies are agreeable. You could also use the Drive as a place to invite people to another event you might stage, one hopefully dealing with both American politics and Israel. Another method is the use of simple conversation. Engage the participants and discuss with them issues and office-holders. This method is the most personal, and so possibly the most powerful. These are not the only ways, so by all means be creative and try out your own ideas.
It might seem cynical to couple this pluralistic goal of common political participation with specific support for a foreign faction. Yet if we truly believe that Israel’s health is intrinsic to that of the United States, then that other aspect of the Drive is only further securing our democratic system. That essential message speaking to the symbiotic nature of America and Israel’s relationship is one that a registration drive can get across especially well.

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