As a biracial man with a Black father who is a veteran of the Vietnam War and a German Jewish mother whose father survived internment in a WWII concentration camp for his role in the underground resistance to the Nazis, I feel a particularly strong call to my responsibility as a citizen to fully participate in our democracy and do all I possibly can to make our country and our world a safe and just one for all people.
Elections make me think of my great-uncle David, for whom I was named. Uncle David was an African American man from the Deep South who risked his life and property to cast his first vote at the age of 29 in the 1932 elections.
Our elections in America are a sacred right. As citizens, a moral responsibility of ours is to help ensure we all carry forward the founders’ dreams of creating “a more perfect union.”
While many have already cast their ballots, many others will gather in lines on Tuesday to cast theirs in person. We should do all in our power to make sure ours is a free and fair election by following all laws and regulations to keep our polling places free of fear, intimidation, harassment or any other form of discouraging other citizens from casting their votes, no matter who they are or what their particular choices may be.
Official, registered poll watchers from each political party will be on hand on election day. They will not be there to interfere in any way with elections or with anyone’s right to vote. Their whole purpose is to ensure that we all get to exercise our rights as U.S. citizens to cast our ballots and to report to our county election officials any instance where that seems to be violated.
We each still have a part to play, even if we are not one of those official poll watchers. We can show up to vote. We can do so without wearing campaign buttons, hats, shirts or other paraphernalia showing whom we plan on supporting because such clothing and accessories are prohibited by law as illegal “electioneering.” We can show up with face masks prepared to socially distance so that we can make sure to keep other voters safe and healthy — especially those dedicated neighbors of ours who as poll workers commit to serving a 12- to 14-hour day.
If we see any instance of a voter being harassed, intimidated, threatened or discouraged from voting in any way, we can quietly call the Bonneville County Elections Office at 208-529-1363 to report such incidents. Let’s come together and make sure that every one of our voices is heard and all citizens have the opportunity to express their will at the ballot box. Far too many have shed their blood and sacrificed beyond measure to ensure that we each get that right. Let’s honor their legacy.